Books to read this summer
Looking for a a summer read? Author Roz Morris shares her five all-time favourite books to give you some inspiration.
This novel has everything I need – elegant and witty writing, a heart-rending story and an unusual situation that is also a profound metaphor. It begins when a gang of dissidents invade an embassy and take hostages. One of the hostages is an operatic soprano who is giving a concert there. As the siege wears on, everyone – hostages and captors alike – falls in love, enspelled by the soprano’s singing. And so do you.
Daisy Jones and the Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Yes, music makes my world go round. Daisy Jones is the story of a fictional one-album-wonder band of the 1970s. It’s told as interviews, like a rockumentary, and it grips you like a great beat. It’s also impressively authentic – it reminded me of my days playing in a band, the muddle and bliss of creativity and the way your personal troubles become the songs you sing to crowds of complete strangers.
This novel took me back to age 17, when I arrived at college in London, young and lost, and hoping to discover my grand purpose. (I dearly wanted a grand purpose.) I met people who shaped my life – some for a few years, some for much longer. The Interestings is that experience – the story of a group of friends who first meet at summer camp as teenagers, and stay connected for decades, some of them unwillingly. My new novel, Ever Rest, tackles similar territory, with two people who are bonded, for ever, by an unforgettable time.
Into the Air
Ever Rest is also in thrall to mountains. I began reading Everest literature two decades ago. I’d never have the guts to climb a mountain myself, but I revel in these vast, bleak places. Just by entering them, we start to die, and yet they lie right beside us. Into Thin Air is as poetic and epic as its title – full of fragility, bravery, hubris, greed, guilt, rivalry and wonder.
Daphne du Maurier
I first encountered Rebecca when I was a teenager. I lost myself most pleasurably in the towering romance, the looming sense of tragedy, the haunting language and the narrator who seemed doomed because she was so innocent. Now I’m older I appreciate the characters’ faults as well as their virtues, especially their weaknesses, and I yearn even more for their happiness. One I will always reread with pleasure.
Roz Morris is the author of three novels – Lifeform Three, a love letter to the countryside of Ranmore and Polesden Lacey; My Memories of a Future LIfe and the recently published Ever Rest, about a rock musician who falls to his death in a climbing accident. She has also published a memoir, Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of Direction, which features Westhumble. As well as writing, Roz also teaches novel-writing at Guardian masterclasses based on her own series of Nail Your Novel books. She currently lives in London, but is trying her hardest to move to Surrey this year.
Ever Rest is available now in ebook and paperback at Amazon, or you can order it at your local bookshop.