The Best Books The Women’s Health Team Are Reading This Summer 

Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift or looking for an enticing read to get you through leisurely summer days spent on the beach, our Women’s Health team recommend their favourites.

The day holds its breath a little longer in summer, and while these warmer months are synonymous with outdoor barbecues, beach cricket and evenings spent eradicating every trace of sand from your car interior and body parts, it’s also that time of year where few things prove as enticing as sinking into a good read. For some, the holiday break presents the opportunity to sink their teeth into the book stack that has been quietly accumulating on their bedside table – those reads you’ve been looking forward to all year, but weren’t quite able to get to what with work and other obligations squeezing hours from the day. 

But with time on our hands now, it’s time to do nothing but lay like vegetables and immerse ourselves in fictionalised worlds, or historic events, or simply learn valuable new insights we can offer up in conversation at the next dinner party.

Whether you’re an avid reader or simply looking for the perfect book to gift that friend who always has their head buried between pages, the team at Women’s Health have offered up their top recommendations to see you through the summer. From romance to mystery, breezy reads and comedies, these are our favourite books that deserve to go to the top of your reading list. 

The Guncle by Steven Rowley 

“Washed-up sitcoms star and Guncle (aka gay uncle) Pat, has been given the responsibility of looking after his nine-year-old niece and six-year-old nephew for three months in his Palm Springs bachelor pad while their dad goes to rehab. This book left me smiling every time I picked it up.” – Lizza Gebilagin, Editor-in-Chief

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus 

“Elizabeth Zott is an unintentionally hilarious chemist who is trying to push boundaries in the male dominated scientific world of the ‘60s. I didn’t want this book to end.” – Lizza Gebilagin, Editor-in-Chief

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

“I read Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club on a beach in Greece earlier this year (and clocked someone on a nearby towel doing the same!). Set in a peaceful retirement village, it’s about a group of residents who investigate unsolved murders. A warm and funny book – as well as a cracking mystery – with really endearing characters. I’m on the sequel, The Man Who Died Twice, at the moment.” – Alex Davies, Managing Editor

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez 

“This book isn’t new but golly gosh, it’s good. Certainly not the first time I’ve read it (yes, I’m planning a re-read over the summer), Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women is an expose of the invisible gender bias in our everyday lives. If you like feminist novels and are a sucker for stats, this book reveals how in a world built for and by men we are systematically ignoring half of the population, often with disastrous consequences. It’s filled with case studies, new research from across the world – and if you’re anything like me – post-it notes, too.” – Nikolina Ilic, Digital Editor

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart 

“This time last year, I had my head buried in Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and finished it with the knowledge that I would read anything he put his name to – even his grocery lists. Despite the high expectations I had going into it, Young Mungo exceeded all expectation. It tells the story of Mungo Hamilton, a 15-year-old coming-of-age in a Glasgow housing scheme with two siblings and a largely absent, alcoholic mother. When he meets James Jamieson, an older Catholic boy, the two boys are forced to navigate this newfound relationship against a backdrop of violent masculinity and gender norms. Stuart’s writing is all kinds of heartbreaking and beautiful. Glasgow is rendered so vividly, it feels like its own character in the story. And while it’s a novel that will certainly see you sob into your pillow, it’s one that is ultimately hopeful and will stay with you a long time.” – Jess Campbell, Online Writer. 

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“Gripping coming-of-age meets murder mystery narrative about a young ‘Marsh Girl’ growing up alone in North Carolina. The beautifully described landscape plays as big a part in the story as the resilient protagonist, Kya.” – Zara Cronin, Designer

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“A warm, poignant story is about Nora, who happens upon a magical library where you can revisit your decisions and see how your life would be if you’d done things differently. An uplifting tale of regrets and hope.” – Zara Cronin, Designer

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

“A darkly funny, heartbreaking and raw tale of Martha who, ‘finds it harder to be alive than most people’. We follow her struggle with mental illness and the downward spiral her life takes. Honest and beautifully flawed characters including her bohemian, dysfunctional family.” – Zara Cronin, Designer

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