Summer Reading for 2013

Blog: Staff Hot Picks for Summer 2013

Headliners pick their favourite summer reads

20 Jun 2013

The sun is shining at last. Glastonbury has been and gone. Your feet bear flip-flop tan lines, and you have crazy urges to purchase an entire barbecue and declare yourself 'the prawn kebab barbecue queen', despite having no idea how to light the dratted thing. 'Pimms o clock' is now an official time of the day. Yes, summer is HERE. And to celebrate, a few of our Headliners muse upon their favourite summer titles. Whether you plan to read paperbacks on the beach or steal a few moments' peace in the midst of a rave-up festival deep in the countryside, we at Headline think that this should be a summer of bookish love.

Deep Blue Sea - Tasmina Perry

Summer is approaching, and luckily we can always rely on a good book to take us somewhere special. I’ve been reading Tasmina Perry’s Deep Blue Sea, which offers glittering escapism.

Sitting reading in my flat in London, Deep Blue Sea magically transported me to exotic locations – by luxury sports car and first-class cabin, no less. When I found myself on a white beach in Thailand or in lush Montego Bay, I could almost feel the sun on my skin and the sand beneath my feet. 

Tasmina Perry also offers the reader a VIP pass into the arena of the super-rich, with unprecedented access to country mansions and London townhouses, phone-hacking scandals and expensive law suits.  I was gripped by this rare glimpse into the world Deep Blue Sea inhabits - dark and dangerous beneath the bright lights and glamour, a world every bit as corrupt as it is chic.

I also loved the smart, female characters – women who are independent, successful and opinionated, with high-flying careers or as strong, outstanding mothers. Rather than envied, I admired these women, as their personalities outshone their cashmere jumpers and designer bags. Part of these women’s charm is that they are flawed, and wholly believable. They embarrass themselves and you cringe with them; they make the wrong choices and you want to shake them and tell them to wake up. Like the relationships you have with your friends, you both admire and admonish them, and love every second of it.

More than anything, Deep Blue Sea is a thrilling read. I was thrown headfirst into an irresistible web of deceit, infidelity and murder, as well as love, laughter, friendship and fun.

And on one last note, who could argue with one of my favorite lines of all: ‘Cake is one of life’s great pleasures’?

So sit down with a slice of cake, a cup of tea (or perhaps an iced margarita) and dive into Deep Blue Sea.

Christina Demosthenous, Editorial

 

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls – Anton DiSclafani

There are books that reach out to their readers in ways perhaps unexpected, perhaps unsettling, perhaps uninvited. For me, and I believe for most, these are the books I remember, that seem to become a part of my history in a way I cannot really describe to anyone who has never truly loved a book.  The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is one of those books.

Anton DiSclafani gathers enormous themes of love, lust, coming of age and the complexity of inter-human relationships in such unassuming fashion that you barely notice the enormity of it all until the sizzling conclusion.

Yonahlossee is about a teenage girl learning about herself and the people around her. This is both a challenge and a joy to read, particularly for those close to their siblings, for those baffled by their parents, for those who want too much, or who want anything at all.

Darcy Nicholson, Editorial

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

I have long been a Neil Gaiman fan and I’ve been so excited about The Ocean at the End of the Lane since I came to Headline. A beautiful fable of memories, magic and friendship, I don’t think anyone could read this and not be hit with a sense of nostalgia. Through a young man returning home and reminiscing on his childhood, we’re introduced to some amazing characters – most notably Lettie Hempstock (I wish I could have had a best friend as cool as her when I was 7!). As soon as I started this I was reminded of how wonderful it felt to be a child engrossed in books, full of innocence and occasionally being fearful of adults! Quite possibly Gaiman’s best novel yet.

Deirdre O’Connell, Sales

Headline Review

Deep Blue Sea

By Tasmina Perry

Passionate. Explosive. Impossible to put down. Tasmina Perry is back with her most spectacular novel yet.

Beneath the shimmering surface lies a dark secret...

Diana and Julian Denver have the world at their feet. With a blissful marriage, a darling son and beautiful homes in London and the country, Diana's life, to the outside world, is perfect. But nothing is as it seems...

When Julian dies suddenly and tragically, Diana is convinced there is more to it than meets the eye. She calls on the one person she had never wanted to see again - her sister, Rachel.

A former tabloid reporter, Rachel appears to be living the dream as a diving instructor on a Thai island. The truth is she's in exile, estranged from her family and driven from her career by Fleet Street's phone-hacking scandal.

For Rachel, Diana's request opens old wounds. But she is determined to make amends for the past, and embarks on a treacherous journey to uncover the truth - wherever it may lead...

This glitzy, fast-paced mystery will hook you from the start... An engrossing dose of chick litSexual tension and an untimely death set the scene for perfect poolside escapism... Perry delivers a big juicy holiday read with enough sexual tension - unresolved and otherwise - to keep you grippedA brilliant page turner that will keep you guessing until the endHighly entertaining and cleverly writtenExciting and explosiveAnother brilliant page-turner from the queen of the beach readHot enough to melt an ice-lolly, it's the perfect summerTotally absorbing... An exciting thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. Perfect fodder for those long lazy days on the beach or in the parkEscape into Deep Blue Sea, Tasmina Perry's latest passionate excursion

With her unique signature blend of escapism, passion and thrilling suspense, Tasmina Perry once again proves she is simply in a league of her own.

Tasmina Perry is the author of the huge Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers Daddy's Girls, Gold Diggers, Guilty Pleasures, Original Sin,, Kiss Heaven Goodbye, Private Lives and Perfect Strangers. She left a career in law to enter the world of women's magazine publishing, going on to win the New Magazine Journalist of the Year award, edit numerous national publications and write on celebrity and style for titles such as Elle and Glamour. In 2004 she launched her own travel and fashion magazine, Jaunt, and was Deputy Editor of InStyle magazine when she left the industry to write books full time. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries.ORIGINAL SIN, GUILTY PLEASURES, DADDY'S GIRLS, KISS HEAVEN GOODBYE and PRIVATE LIVES were all Sunday Times top ten bestsellers in hardbackJust some of the praise for the incomparable Tasmina Perry: 'Perry is staking her claim to be crowned queen of the blockbuster' Woman; 'The hottest holiday accessory this season' Elle; 'An intelligent and stylish 21st-century take on the Jackie Collins genre' Red; 'A super-slick, seriously sexy murder mystery. Fantastic' Company; 'The perfect beach read - a sexy guilty pleasure' Glamour; 'We loved it!' Heat; 'A sizzling novel of suspense with an unexpected climax that'll keep you guessing till the very end' Daily ExpressTasmina's new novel is the fourth in a major multi-book contract with Headline, to be backed by her biggest ever campaign which will take her to the top of the bestseller lists in both hardback and paperback
Tinder Press

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

By Anton Disclafani

Perfect for fans of The Great Gatsby, Tigers in Red Weather, and Curtis Sittenfield... 1930s America, southern high society: Part love story, part coming-of-age novel, this is the moving, raw and exquisitely vivid story of an uncommon girl navigating a treacherous road to womanhood.

Thea Atwell is fifteen years old in 1930, when, following a scandal for which she has been held responsible, she is 'exiled' from her wealthy and isolated Florida family to a debutante boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As Thea grapples with the truth about her role in the tragic events of 1929, she finds herself enmeshed in the world of the Yonahlossee Riding Camp, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty and equestrienne prowess; where young women are indoctrinated in the importance of 'female education' yet expected to be married by twenty-one; a world so rarified as to be rendered immune (at least on the surface) to the Depression looming at the periphery, all overseen by a young headmaster who has paid a high price for abandoning his own privileged roots...

'I fell completely under the spell of Anton DiSclafani's amazing first novel and was gripped by its lush and dreamy evocations of Southern decorum, family secrets, and boarding school rituals. DiSclafani is wildly talented, and this is a sexy, suspenseful, gorgeously written book''DiSclafani's pitch-perfect details of time and place effortlessly drew me into this fantastic novel's authentic and alluring world''The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is so sexy, smart, and vividly drawn that I was surprised to remember that this novel is Anton DiSclafani's first. With such a big-hearted and atmospheric book, Ms. DiSclafani's talents should be celebrated far and wide''A fierce and tender portrait of a young woman caught amidst the converging crises of her family, her country, and her own complicated desires... It's a beautiful novel''A clever and compelling coming-of-age novel'A beautiful, literary commercial novel in the vein of PREPAnton DiSclafani, 30, was raised in northern Florida, where she rode horses, competing nationally. She graduated from Emory University, and received her MFA from Washington University. She currently lives in St. Louis, where she teaches creative writing at Washington University.A smart, distinctive and fresh voice on themes of adolescence, identity, young love and family relationships: sure to spark rich discussions for book clubs
Headline

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

WINNER OF THE SPECSAVERS NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS 2013 BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is the bestselling magical novel from Neil Gaiman, one of the most brilliant storytellers of our generation and author of the epic novel American Gods, and the much-loved Sandman series. 'Possibly Gaiman's most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet. It's a tale of childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality' (Independent on Sunday). If you loved the mesmerising world of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus or were drawn into J.K. Rowling's magical universe, this book is for you.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soulI loved itGaiman's achievement is to make the fantasy world seem trueIt's possibly Gaiman's most lyrical, scary and beautiful work yet. It's a tale about childhood for grown-ups, a fantasy rooted in the darkest corners of reality. It is a story he's been waiting all his life to tellA hugely satisfying scary fantasy and a moving, subtle exploration of family, of what it's really like to be a child, and how the memories of childhood affect the adults we become. It's a wonderful bookThe most affecting book Gaiman has written, a novel whose intensity of real-world observation and feeling make its other-worldly episodes doubly startling and persuasiveThis beautiful fable with flashes of terror and sparks of humour is about memory and magic and the darkness that lives without and within. Loneliness and longing saturate the pages but so does the redemptive power of friendship in the person of the magnificently adorable Lettie HempstockIt's a very rare thing, maybe once a decade, for a novel to come along and within a few pages you know you're reading a future classic. If you haven't heard of Neil Gaiman yet you can be forgiven, but this, his sixth adult novel, will firmly cement his handprints in the literary walk of fame...this is one of those stories that is almost primitive in its power - it captures you heart and soul, and makes you grateful we have storytellers like Gaiman to feed our minds and stoke our imaginations. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is this year's big bang bookThis is a book to sink into, allowing yourself to be gradually pulled along by its currents, into a childhood that's half remembered. Events take place over just a few days, and since the consequences of his actions are forgotten by the main character, it's easy to believe that nothing of importance has really happened. But experiencing those few days, that snippet of a childhood and a quest for survival in a world that's already terrifying for children is a joy, an experience that will stay with you long after the final page is turnedDark, strange and scarily brilliant: an otherworldly fable about memories and magicI really don't want to say too much about the story itself. I will say it is short as it focused on one event, one wrong that needs to be put right. And because of that focus Neil Gaiman is free to explore the minor but significant details as well as look at the grander parts of life. It made me smile, it made me sad, it made my heart ache and it made me think. "What else could I ask for?" Read itA book that will resonate powerfully with anyone attempting to process the darker aspects of their own childhood. And in an age when childhood ends early, and often brutally, that makes it a book for almost everyoneIf it's not just for adults, and not quite for children, there is one age-flexible group it is written for. An obtuse thing to say about a book it may be, but The Ocean at the End of the Lane was written for readers. It's for people to whom books were and are anaesthesia, companion, and tutor. If you're one of them, you'll want to wade into it, past your ankles, knees and shoulders, until it laps over the crown of your head. You'll want to dive inA mind-bending tale with a hint of horrorThis book is another gentle earthquake under our psychological landscapeIf you think fantasy books are only for people who enjoy rocking a sock/sandal combo and dressing up as warlocks at the weekend, think again. It's brilliantly written and you can whizz through it in a couple of daysThe novel is a children's book, in the sense that it is a book about childhood. A child could read and enjoy it but only an adult will appreciate its bittersweet nuances and subtle sadnesses. In prose as delicate and diaphanous as a cobweb, and with a painstakingly precise use of symbolism, Gaiman traces one boy's journey from innocence, through fear and regret, to experience. In doing so, he traces all of our journeys, and beautifullyGaiman does this sort of thing as well as anybody, and after a low-key beginning he builds the tension with skill, resulting in some truly scary moments. Like the ocean in the duck pond, he creates a sense of scale far greater than the modest rural setting in which the action takes place. There is real heart too, most notably in the narrator's touching friendship with Lettie Hempstock, the girl from down the lane who may have been 11 years old for a very long time. These days there is a weight of expectation on anything Gaiman writes. Happily, this novel proves once again that the hype is justifiedGaiman's storytelling is mythic, laced with ritual and minutiae - Lettie, her mother and crone tend their farm, banish creatures, cut and stitch the fabric of time and provide helpings of porridge... the richness of being seven, when happiness is a mix of books, sweets and adult injustice, is perfectly conveyed. Brief but memorable, Ocean is cosmic yet domestic

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a novel about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us, created by the unparalleled imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman is a tour de force of creative talent. He is the bestselling author of STARDUST and CORALINE, both of which are major motion films. Neil also co-wrote the script for Beowulf starring Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie. He is the creator/writer of the award-winning Sandman comic series and has written several books for children.Neil's acclaimed novel NEVERWHERE will be broadcast on Radio Four and Radio Four Extra in March 2013, brought to life by a stellar cast of celebrated actors including James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Schofield, Anthony Head , Bernard Cribbins , Romola Garai, Christopher Lee, Andrew Sachs, George Harris, Don Gilet, Abdul Salis, Paul Chequer, Yasmin Paige and Johnny Vegas.ANANSI BOYS debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and AMERICAN GODS won the Bram Stoker Award best novel, the Nebula Award for best novel and the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel in 2002 and was a nominee for the BSFA award. It is currently in development for television by HBO.Neil's official website has more than one million unique visitors each month, his online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day and he has nearly two million followers on Twitter.Neil's books have won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, Newbery Medal, and Carnegie Medal in Literature and have been translated into more than twenty-eight languages.

Tasmina Perry

Tasmina Perry is the author of the huge Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers Daddy's Girls, Gold Diggers, Guilty Pleasures, Original Sin, Kiss Heaven Goodbye, Private Lives and Perfect Strangers. She left a career in law to enter the world of women's magazine publishing, going on to win the New Magazine Journalist of the Year award, edit numerous national publications and write on celebrity and style for titles such as Elle and Glamour. In 2004 she launched her own travel and fashion magazine, Jaunt, and was Deputy Editor of InStyle magazine when she left the industry to write books full time. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries.

Anton Disclafani

Anton DiSclafani, 30, was raised in northern Florida, where she rode horses, competing nationally. She graduated from Emory University, and received her MFA from Washington University. She currently lives in St. Louis, where she teaches creative writing at Washington University.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is the author of over thirty acclaimed books and graphic novels for adults and children, including AMERICAN GODS, STARDUST, CORALINE and THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. His most recent novel for adults, THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was highly acclaimed, appeared on the hardback and paperback Sunday Times bestseller lists and won several awards, including being voted Book of the Year in the National Book Awards 2013: 'Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul' Joanne Harris.

The recipient of numerous literary honours, Neil Gaiman's work has been adapted for film, television and radio. He has written scripts for Doctor Who, collaborated with authors and illustrators including Terry Pratchett, Dave McKean and Chris Riddell, and THE SANDMAN is established as one of the classic graphic novels. As George R R Martin says: 'There's no one quite like Neil Gaiman.'

Originally from England, Neil Gaiman now lives in America.