MDMflow’s Summer Reading List

Is there anything better than a good book? The rise of Netflix and the TV series has saddened me- nobody seems to read as much anymore. When I was growing up, myself, my sisters and my Mum would constantly be reading. We’d swap books not just between each other, but with aunties, neighbours, friends. Reading is so much more intimate than watching a TV show, each characters face is formed by your own imagination, the hills and buildings of your own design. It expands your vocabulary, engages your creativity, and allows you to fully shut off and enter the weird and wonderful world inside your head…

So we at MDMflow have put together our summer reading list, featuring books from all genres, times and countries. #Readingiscool

 

Liberty’s Picks

 

1. “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy

Probably one of the biggest books of the 90s, this story tells the tale of twins Rahel and Estha growing up in Kerala, with their family and its pickle factory. During their childhood tragic events unfold that will change and shape their lives, but despite this they fill their lives full of magic and stories. This book stayed with me long after I read it, the characters and landscapes were so vivid in my head. It was a best-seller for a reason, go read it.

 

2. “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff

 

 

In 2015 Obama declared this the best book he had read that year. Do you need anymore of a reason to read a book? This novel tells the tale of a marriage from two sides; firstly from the side handsome and charismatic Lotto, and then again from his wife Mathilde’s perspective. The depth of the characters unfold as the layers of the story build in an original and completely addictive way. It shows how life and a relationship can be viewed differently, how our passions and art drive us and how we all hold our secrets.

 

3. “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell

 

I read this book on holiday last summer. Having ran out of books (I’d read 6 in 8 days) I pinched this one off my sister’s stack of books. I read it in one beach sitting, and chuckled the entire way through. Written by esteemed Zoologist Gerald Durrell, this is an autobiographical snapshot of when he and his chaotic and unconventional family uprooted from the UK to the greek island of Corfu. It tells the tales of their life on what was then an island with fairly limited facilities, their interactions with the charismatic locals and of course, Gerald’s heartwarming adventures and discovery of the local wildlife. Please read it, laugh, and like me, you’ll want to live in that broken rambling house.

 

4. “The Immortals” by S.E. Lister

I bought this book because it was on offer on Kindle (I’m cheap okay) and it was a very pleasant surprise. A kind of science-fiction drama for beginners, the story tells the tale of 18 year old Rosa. It starts in 1945, the year where she is endlessly stuck with her time-travelling family. She wants to break out and away from their time-old routine, and so she escapes, travelling from century to century, country to country. You’ll be transported to ancient and future times, as Rosa travels as a time-gypsy with sidekick Tommy Rust. Rosa’s adventures quickly begin to take their toll and we see a coming-of-age change in the heroine. Honestly this book is not as cheesy than it sounds- the love story isn’t the major focus, and it isn’t an unrealistic wildly romantic feature just put in for the sake. It features as part of the tale of the character’s growth, and the exploration of the feelings of adventure and sense of belonging are real, whether you can time-travel or not.

 

5. “Animal” by Sara Pascoe

 

My friend Fiona bought me a copy of this book after she read it and immediately wanted everyone around her to read it. I finished it and agreed that it should be on the national curriculum. Sara Pascoe tackles love, relationships, our obsession and internal dialogue with our bodies. She does it not only with humour, autobiographical snippets, and an open and honest attitude, but also backs up arguments with scientific and anthropological reports and studies. And even better, she questions the studies and their judgements. This book is so well researched, written, and thought out and will honestly make you question so many of your viewpoints and the way you see things. PLEASE BUY THIS BOOK.

 

6. “The amazing story of the man who cycled from India to Europe for love” by Per J Andersson

 

I devoured this book in a few days. This book tells the TRUE tale of PK, an artist from the jungles in Orissa, India and his story of fate and love. But this book isn’t a mushy love story. It shows the struggles PK faced as an “untouchable” the lowest caste in a rigid Hindu class system, throughout his childhood and adulthood. It takes you through a post-Ghandi India, when change was quick and fought against by the public, but slowly took hold as western culture started to infiltrate- hoards of hippies came to India in the 70s, driving down the famous “hippy trail”. And with it a Swede called Lotta that inspired PK  to undergo an incredible journey. This book really moved me, PK is bright and real and honest and I learnt so much about my own culture; I saw the caste system and the post British colonial India in another light.

 

7. “Sapiens” and “Home Deus” by Yuval Noah Harari

After reading Sara Pascoe’s “Animal”, my interest in Anthropology and human evolution had been titivated. Along came Yuval. “Sapiens” gives us the history of humankind- how was it that we Homo sapiens were the only Homo species out of 7 (that we know of) to survive? What makes us different? How did we evolve? How did farming change us, for the better, or for the worse? It is honestly one of the most interesting books I have ever read, and has made me question so much of the world around me, cultural traditions and our interactions with nature. He does it in such an easy way to read, has a good sense of humour and provides plenty of explanations, so don’t worry your head won’t hurt. I haven’t yet read his follow up book, “Homo Deus” but here he explores the future of the human race and what we could become. Scary stuff.

 

8. “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” by Rachel Ignotofsky

 

This may be a picture book, but it is no cop-out read. This book features 50 amazing women who throughout history have contributed in amazing ways to STEM, fighting sexism, adversity, and a world who told them science was for men. Between them they calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission, discovered radioactivity, and helped us to understand evolution. It features infographics and beautiful illustrations by Ignotofsky, and will make you want to don your lab coat and raise your pipettes with this wonderful and inspiring group of women.

 

 

Annabelle’s Pick

 

9. “Life and Other Near Death Experiences” by Camille Pagan

 

 

This life-affirming novel follows the story of Libby, an average woman whose existence is turned upside down in one day by a shock divorce and a nasty diagnosis. What was lovely about this book was how affable and relatable the characters were, how the scenes were described with such vitality and with a vivid, colourful narrative, how Libby’s worries and stresses weren’t dissimilar to something we as readers all go through, and how the prospect of her impending death forced her to really, truly live. A book like this would usually make me cry, but it mischievous undertone set against the stark reality made you thoughtful more than anything.

 

 

Bukky’s Pick

10. “Silent Honour” by Danielle Steele

 

Silent Honour is a story set in the 1940s about a young Japanese girl who goes to live in America in order to further her education. The main character Hiroko lives with her father cousins family who are very much westernised and we see the distinct differences in Japanese and Amerian culture. Hiroko, who is very traditional, falls in love with an American man and has to navigate the mixing of their cultures and trying to gain acceptance whilst dealing with even bigger life changes when the war between the USA and Japan breaks out. Hiroko and her family have their lives turned on its head as they are labelled as enemy aliens and taken to concentration camps and find themselves being turned on by those that were close to them. Through all this Hiroko must hide her growing relationship with her love interest who she just can not seem to stay away from!

I love this book because it showcases a variety of themes; love, romance, family, cultural differences and acceptance. This book means a lot to me as it is actually one of the first novels I ever read and many years down the line it is one I happily read over and over again.

There are so many twists and turns which make it a great read and definitely one to check out for all lovers of romantic fiction.

 

Flow’s Pick

11. “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

 

Americanah is a favourite summer read for me! After finishing my Cosmetic Science degree in 2013 I decided to go on a 4 week trip to America to relax, explore and decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I took Americanah with me and journeyed in my mind with two of the main characters Ifemelu and Obinze. I was drawn to their coming of age story and became obsessed with the choices they were making and how much I related to their story. It was the perfect form of escapism yet as with all of Chimamanda’s work some bold and straight lessons. It is a long and hefty book to carry around so if you are gallivanting the audio or digital version might be best.

 

 

I hope you enjoy our Summer Reading List, remember #Readingiscool.

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