1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Following in the footsteps of “Gone Girl”, “The Girl on the Train” is described as a psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives. Blasting through the stagnation of everyday life in suburban London and quickly moving to an inextricably entwined series of events, it urges the reader to turn pages one after another.
For those looking for a distraction from the sweltering weather, this emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller is the perfect book to dive in.
2. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
For fans of Harper Lee and her beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird”, no reading list this year can be complete without her new landmark novel, “Go Set a Watchman”.
Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming to visit her aging father, Atticus turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her.
Featuring many of the iconic characters from her previous novel, “Go Set a Watchman” perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in a painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past - a journey that can be guided only by one's conscience.
3. Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
In a pleasantly surprising way, this contemporary novel by Indian novelist Vikram Seth sweeps away the reader on the wings of a strange, beguiling story.
Set in newly independent India, Nehru's early 1950's, this adipose saga counterbalances a book of social manners—the marrying off of a well-to-do educated young woman, Lata Mehra—with a historical account (even at the level of transcribed parliamentary debate) of the subcontinent trying to find its societal bearings vis-…-vis language, religion, and the redistribution of estate-lands taken off the hands of the elite.
With a dash of local flavour, and a love story at its core, Suitable Boy is likely to become your favourite summer read.
4. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
In case you wanted to read only one book this summer, Infinite Jest would make sure you get your dose of equal parts philosophy and screwball comedy in one go.
Bending every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are.
5. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
A definite feel-good read, My Family and Other Animals is a hilarious account of a childhood spent on the lush Greek island of Corfu — sans debt crisis, plus more fauna than you can shake a stick at.
When the unconventional Durrell family can no longer endure the damp, gray English climate, they do what any sensible family would do: sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the island but ended up as a delightful account of Durrell’s family’s experiences, from the many eccentric hangers-on to the ceaseless procession of puppies, toads, scorpions, geckoes, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, bats, and butterflies into their home.
6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
What better time than the long days of summer to embark onto a sci-fi journey, and what better companion than the endlessly entertaining Douglas Adams and what is deemed as probably the funniest work of science fiction ever written.
Described by Washington Post as “inspired lunacy that leaves hardly a science fiction cliche alive”, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy narrates the story of Arthur Dent who is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Perfect, seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway. What follows is a dynamic journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide; "A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have" - and a galaxy-full of fellow travellers, equal parts bizarre and hilarious.
7. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
If summers and beach is your thing, this forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas sets the right tone for a leisurely yet contemplative read. The Marriage of Opposites narrates the story of the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.
When her older husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
8. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
If long sentences and complex narratives isn’t your thing, this unforgettable graphic novel about a young girl’s rebellious account of growing up in Iran is the right fix for you.
Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming—both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland.
9. Kafka On the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Loaded with runaways and rains of fish, prophecies, Colonel Sanders, and conversations with cats, Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is very likely to give you the same feeling as spending one too many hours under the sun.
Dwindling between reality and illusion, this novel enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world’s great storytellers at the peak of his powers.
10. Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid
Described by Jhumpa Lahiri as "A brisk, absorbing novel… inventive… trenchant…”, Moth Smoke mirrors contemporary Pakistani society far more vividly than the exoticized images of South Asia familiar to the West. Fast-paced and unexpected, Moth Smoke brings in familiar imageries and landscapes, and remains as deeply relevant to the moment as when it appeared more than a decade ago.