Holiday books: 10 best summer reads to get on your holiday packing list

Our list of holiday books and summer reads includes gripping thrillers, heartbreaking romances and a certain travel-sized magazine. Here are the best beach books to throw in your suitcase

Holiday books and summer reads: Bookends with storage
(Image credit: A Place For Everything)

Is there anything better than lying by the pool or on the beach, holiday books on one side and an Aperol on the other? We certainly don't think so. But which summer reads should you be cramming into your suitcase this year? Well we've rounded up the best beach books for 2019. From gripping thrillers to heartbreaking romances, and a certain travel-sized magazine, these are the books that will keep you so enthralled you'll miss the sunset...

Pssst! You might need these book storage ideas when you get back from your trip.

1. The Flatshare, Beth O'Leary 

Thought your house sharing set up was weird? Listen to this. Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. What could possibly go wrong?

The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Normal People, Sally Rooney

This is one of those bandwagon books that literally everyone is reading at the moment. But, guys, the hype is real. Follow Marianne and Connell on their journey through the microscope of small-town life and then the existential crisis of university. Sure we would say it was a love story but it's so much more than that too! Get this in your hand luggage NOW!

P.S We also fully recommend her first novel too Conversations With Friends

Normal People Sally Rooney

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. The Farm, Joanne Ramos

Tipped as The Handmaid's Tale's 2019 equivalent, The Farm is set at businesswoman Mae Yu's luxury fertility retreat, Golden Oaks: a place where women live their very best lives. Oh yer, but there's a catch: they have to dedicate themselves to being a surrogate to someone else's baby. Young Jane, who has a daughter, spots a chance to change their lives, but at what cost?

The Farm Joanna Ramos

4. How Do You Like Me Now?, Holly Bourne

It's your typical tale about a woman who seemingly has it all, but underneath her relationship is falling apart and her best friend is close to leaving her behind. Sad times. But this book actually deals with this told-a-million-times tale with brutal honesty; it's hilarious, insightful and pretty touching at times. Basically, it's got all you could want from a holiday book.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. I'll Never Tell, Catherine McKenzie 

If you're always up for a good murder mystery, go for I'll Never Tell. Don't judge this by the clichéd front cover; it's a complicated, gripping read. After their parents' sudden deaths, five siblings reunite to decide what to do with their family's property. But before they can, they have to figure out what happened to their fellow camper Amanda... oooh. 

I'll never tell, Catherine McKenzie

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls takes the reader back to 1940s New York city through the perspective of 89-year-old Vivian Morris, who reminisces about her wild time in the theatre and reflects on the year she was kicked out of college – a decision destined to change the fate of the then 19-year-old's life. Really, what else would we expect from the author of Eat, Pray, Love, if not a novel of a woman and her journey of self discovery?

City of Girls Elizabeth Gilbert

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. You Think It, I'll Say It, Curtis Sittenfeld

Funny, witty, and razor-sharp, these short stories from acclaimed American author Curtis Sittenfeld are guaranteed to have you chuckling along. Soon to be a Netflix series, You Think It, I'll Say It is both clever and easy to read. 

You think it I'll say it

(Image credit: Amazon)

8. Searching for Sylvie Lee, Jean Kwok 

Another one for you thriller lovers. When beautiful, brilliant Sylvie Lee vanishes while visiting her dying grandmother in the Netherlands, Sylvie’s sister Amy sets out to find her and uncovers family secrets that turn her world upside down. Dun dun dunnn. Although this book is so much more than your typical beach read thriller, it looks into the complicated, unintentional consequences of an immigrant family’s efforts to adapt, survive, and provide their children with a better future.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

(Image credit: Amazon)

9. Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty

Is there a Big Little Lies shaped hole in your summer holiday? Get your teeth into Liane Moriarty's new novel! Nine Perfect Strangers follows the story of (you guessed it) nine strangers who met at a luxurious wellness retreat. However, it isn’t all yoga and spa treatments: expect plenty of romantic entanglements, intrigue and mystery at every turn...

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

(Image credit: Amazon)

10. Real Homes Magazine Travel Edition

Well, we couldn't not really, could we? But, exciting news, because the September issue of Real Homes magazine comes in a cute little travel size, so it can just slide neatly into your hand luggage or beach bag! Get your copy now, or if you can wait subscribe for the full sized copy and pay just £3 per issue. 

Front cover of the July issue of Real Homes magazine

(Image credit: Real Homes)

More summer must-haves:

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.