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Summer Reading 2021 • #102

It’s our 2021 summer reading episode!

What are we looking for in our summer reading? We want books that are going to carry us away, books that are immersive and compelling, books that take us places and teach us things. Sometimes we want short reads to suit our mood, others we want long immersive books that will last us through the summer. And as ever, we want books we can discuss and debate.

Embracing our usual tendency to veer away from the obvious we’ve compiled an eclectic list. We’ve got summer buzz books The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris and Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, but we’re also delving into mental health with Meg Mason’s hilarious and moving novel Sorrow and Bliss, considering the joys of the untethered life with Jhumpa Lahiri’s Wherabouts and learning about the Sackler family – architects, it turns out, of America’s opioid crisis – with Patrick Radden-Keefe’s Empire of Pain. Plus Laura throws in Michael Faber’s beguiling fantasy novel D: A Tale of Two Worlds, plus a novel by First Nations author Richard Wagamese she wants everyone to read, and we briefly consider Erik Larson’s gripping history of World War 2, The Splendid and the Vile and why really it’s the perfect thing to have beside your deckchair.

Wherever you are, we wish you a brilliant summer and lots of happy reading.

Book recommendations

Sorrow & Bliss by Meg Mason

Hotel Silence by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden-Keefe

D (a Tale of Two Worlds) by Michael Faber

The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalia Harris

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson


Listen to the episode via the player above or your favourite podcast app here.

Over to you

What are the books you’re enjoying this summer? Comment below and let us know.


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