6 Books Oozing of Summer

As July hits us with hopefully more heat and sunshine, I have collected six books with a special summer-feel to them to read while lingering at the beach, pool, or park.  For those long days with melting icecream, aperol spritz, and sprinklers lazily watering the suffering lawns, these new and classic books make wonderful companions with their sensual warmth and underlying drama.

 

Albert Camus: The Plague

What would happen if your town suddenly became infected by the plague? A burning heatwave filled with sickness sweeping through crooks and crannies in your homes, seperating you from the outside and not knowing when disaster might hit from the inside. Would you attempt everything to escape but possibly carrying the sickness with you? Would you assist in treating the infected at your own risk? Would you follow any protocol provided by the authorities? Would you go on a bonanza of alcohol and carelessness because nothing mattered?

A character study of yourself through the events of the plague-filled town of Oran at the Mideterranean Sea in the 1940s, Camus questions us and all we would and could do if we suddenly became prisoner to something bigger, just leaving the reader with the last question: what is the plague in our home today?

 

Sylvie Bocqui: A Season

An anonymous matron at a beach resort at the French Riviera, gliding along the corridors of the old hotel like the shadows cast by the sun. Always invisible but always present, she steals small samples of the guests’ perfumes and makes lists over who wears what. Carrying the sillage, the lingering essens from each visitor, with her in her discreet, monotome world, senses are heightened, words unsaid, yet everything is exposed through the most intimate meeting between strangers. A short, delicate story making you want to find all the perfumes mentioned and understand the personalities behind their wearers.

 

Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited

The iconic story of aristocracy, love, and nostalgia, of never getting what you really want. Made into the famous tv series and movie, the story of Charles, Sebastian, and Julia has captivated the reader and viewer with all the things left unsaid since 1945. Societal pressure, hypocricy, and those perfect summer days always on our mind, making us question if those were enough or whether we should have fought for more. A very aesthetic book where appearances become character as well. I always get reminded of Brideshead Revisited when I read Donna Tarrt’s The Secret History.

 

Michael Ondaatje: The English Patient

From war-town Italian villas to Bedouin canvas tents in the Sahara desert, The English Patient is filled with scents of citrus, oil, and wine, and feelings of passion and betrayal. The Histories by Herodotus creates the frame for a love story greater than any war, and Ondaatje’s writing makes you want this book to go on forever.

Adapted into the Academy Award-winning movie, the book is no less poetic and is one I reread every summer, and one of the few which can give me goosebumps in a heatwave. Best enjoyed with a glass Italian red, fresh figs, and a hankerchief.

 

Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita

The most misunderstood novel of modern time, with the most disturbing plot and unreliable narrator, Lolita asks a lot of its reader. How quickly do you fall under the spell of Humbert Humbert or do you see through him to the real Dolores? Despite the upsetting plot, this is a classic for good reason, and not just for a very aesthetic movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, with Nabokov’s writing getting under your skin. Do not expect heart-shaped glasses and lollipops, but a dark depth and a psychological study of how some will twist views and words to excuse behavior. A roadtrip of gut-wrenching rage and always leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Beware of Nabokov’s own advice for his publishers regarding the cover: “There is one subject which I am emphatically opposed to: any kind of representation of a little girl.” {x}

 

Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen: Out of Africa

The world classic of one woman’s struggle to keep her coffee plantation going and her encounters with wild life and the people around her, Blixen’s memoir is a glimpse into a storyteller’s focus on scenes and atmosphere but it is also a testament of the colonial mindset. It is important to stay aware of this as there is an underlying pedantic approach to her staff despite her respect at the same time. You sense the dew and the scorching sun through the coffee trees and how the outside world always in small ways creeping up and influencing the otherwise lonely world of the plantation whether by food prizes, gatherings, or war.

The most beautiful sketches are those of the wildlife and the almost panteistic feel the crops bring to her narrative. The clashes between native and colonial are heightened but also treated equally, with pride and controversial traditions on both sides, and there is a certain magic in Blixen’s attempts at grasping the native traditions and especially in trying to describe them. Out of Africa is filled with colours and stories within the story. Perfect for breaking up in smaller pieces to read on a longer journey.


DANSK:

6 bøger, som emmer af sommerhede og drama i skyggen. Disse bøger er alle nogle, som er med til at definere sommer mellem siderne og flere af dem har jeg læst flere somre i træk. Klassikere eller med klassiske træk og lige til at nyde med en aperol spritz ved poolen eller med jordbær i sommerhuset. Læs med til middelhavet, Afrika, Englands overklasse og en amerikansk roadtrip.

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About Ann-Cathrine 38 Articles
Established 1987 in Aarhus, Denmark. MA degree in English and Art History from Aarhus University, Denmark. Loves books, art, writing, coffee, dandelions, paper dolls, and haute couture.