At bandstand, we’re big advocates for holiday meaning holiday. No poolside calls, no après-ski artworking, no cheeky copy requests while you’re hacking through the Amazon rainforest. And as we’re an agency of big readers, we’re switching out the traditional espresso this week and putting forward five of bandstand’s top recommendations for reads this summer. We say summer reads – there’s a fair bit of darkness in there.
NEAPOLITAN NOVELS – Elena Ferrante
One of the most immersive, absorbing sets of books I have ever read. I literally devoured them book by book! They swept me away to Italy – I could smell, taste, feel it all. And the most intense, fascinating depiction of the complexity of female friendship, as it ebbs and flows through decades – picking off politics, families, jealousy, the bonds that tie us, places and the rich tapestry of life along the way.
Recommended by Fi Case
LUSTER – Raven Leilani
Frank, relatable, smart and intoxicating. You won’t put this down, so you’ll need someone to bring your cocktails to you.
Recommended by Lottie Marriner
THEN WE CAME TO THE END – Joshua Ferris
A funny, sad, weird and moving novel about oddballs working at an ad agency; I’d struggle to say why it resonates. Narrated from the “we” voice, it follows everyone from the boss who’s pretending she hasn’t got breast cancer to a disgruntled ex-colleague who turns up one day in a clown costume. A must-read for anyone in adland.
Recommended by Will Miles
NOTES ON AN EXECUTION – Danya Kukafka
This story isn’t just about another serial killer and his perspective. It’s about the women he encountered and those who knew him. It’s dark but written in such beautiful prose that it’s easy to get lost in the grip of the plot and the rich characters. The author’s note at the beginning sets the tone: “I am tired of seeing Ted Bundy’s face. This is a book for the women who survive.”
Recommended by Emma Maher
THE GIRLS – Emma Cline
“The sun spiked through the trees, like always – the drowsy willows, the hot wind gusting over the picnic blankets – but the familiarity of the day was disturbed by the path the girls cut across the regular world.” For me, The Girls evokes summer in every page. A summer of opportunity. Of hope. Of longing. Of mischief. Of sweat on skin. Of air hanging heavy with heat. You can feel the heady scent of summer wrapped up in every murderous page. This is a book to get lost in all summer.
Recommended by Frances Jenkins
Enjoy – and let us know what you’re reading!