Summer reading suggestions!

Books to read whilst you ignore any mention of summer work!

Exams are over, the days are getting longer, but for some reason we're all still stuck in lessons. Here are some fab books (both new and old) that you can go escape with and practice perfecting the art of pretending you're relaxing on a tropical beach whilst you sit in a London park. 

First up is Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'urbevilles. This novel, published 1891, deals with both the conventions of Victorian sexual morality and the growth of modernity in an English rural landscape. Whilst some of you may have an already-formed view of Hardy from your GCSE English studies (be this good or bad), I can promise that this achingly sad story will make you think all summer long and, hopefully, challenge your understanding of what Victorian fiction is. 

From a more modern perspective, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is also a spectacular summer read. Whilst it is somewhat dark and disconcerting, it does really provide a way of thinking about and examining women's rights in the Trump era (despite having been written in the 1980s). Perhaps most disturbingly, Atwood didn't use anything in the book which hasn't happened somewhere in the world at some time. A televised version of the story is airing on Channel 4 so, if you get your skates on, you could read the book first then catch up on the series (enabling maximum procrastination)!

For younger years, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is a great read about a young female spy and, more generally, the role of women in Second World War espionage. It has some nail-biting and tear-inducing moments and, at points, even forces you to question the act of narration itself. 

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did and if you have any suggestions then feel free to email me!

Francesca VII