On the 6th day of reading…

On the 6th day of reading my library gave to me:
six books for laying about reading while you laze by the pool or at the beach.
Come on, it IS Sunday, and it’s summer – it must be reading o’clock.

Here are six books that are perfect for enjoying this summer:

  1. Looking for some lighthearted magic realism? Rhonda at Upper Coomera Branch Library recommends Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill. Full of enchanting descriptions of Ireland this debut is about Kate McDiad whose inheritance, from a self-proclaimed witch, depends on her publishing a series of letters. Readers who enjoy a dash of magic and romance will enjoy heading off with the fairies, as Kate struggles with the bequest.
  2. Dreaming of travelling or changing your life? Our online librarian, Karen, recommends Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a nice, easy read with a feel-good ending about the author’s journey of self-discovery in Italy, India and Indonesia.
  3. Have you ever wondered just how far you could go being deliberately vapid and hedonistic? How corrupt and superficial could you become before you sickened even yourself? We’re not talking 2015 – we’re talking the classics. Timothy, at Nerang Branch Library reminds us that before there was Instagram,  before there was reality television, there was Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
  4. There’s nothing like lazing around in the heat to make you wish for a good dose of the shivers. Herman Koch’s Summerhouse with Swimming Pool is just what you need, as it explores themes of guilt, loyalty and vengeance. Tragic events take place on a summer vacation and strip away the characters’ thin veneer of civilisation, exposing their flaws with brutal psychological insight.
  5. Sometimes you just want to read something fun. Timothy, at Nerang Branch Library recommends The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. If you’re ready for an angst-free, upbeat, hilarious superhero with a quirky squirrel sidekick, you’ll love Squirrel Girl: “she kicks butts and eats nuts.”
  6. Wanting to dive into a book of sensory delights? If you’re loving the scents of summer, treat yourself to reading The Perfumer’s Secret by Fiona McIntosh. I mentioned on Thursday that my favourite Australian book of the year was Fiona’s Nightingale. It’s also perfect for summer reading, but in coming weeks I’ll be enjoying The Perfumer’s Secret, a tale of love and family duty and the perfume dynasties of France, set against the background of World War I.

poolside books

If you feel the need for a little refreshment while you’re reading, I don’t think you can go past a Cranberry Mint Lemonade:
Just get a large jug and pour in chilled 400ml cranberry juice to 600ml lemonade (unsweetened, sugar-free, whatever you prefer). Thinly slice a lime, grab a handful of mint and crush or tear it, and thinly slice a dozen or so strawberries and chuck all that in too.
Now, you can drink that over ice and it’s fantastic, but if you’re really smart, you’ll get this ready ahead of time. Then you crush your strawberries and mint and put them into ice cube trays with some cranberry juice and once it’s frozen, voila! fabulous fruity ice cubes that don’t dilute your drink.

Things I like about this drink include its gorgeous colour, and the way the tart cranberry counters the sweet lemonade. Obviously, if you feel the need to add alcohol that is a viable option, but if you’re going there, I’d like to make a further recommendation. Tucked away in the Hinterland behind our lovely Gold Coast is Mt Tamborine, and they have a gem of a place, Tamborine Mountain Distillery, which makes an astonishing musk liqueur. It tastes and smells just like musk stick lollies and is the loveliest pink colour. I don’t think I have the vocabulary to do justice to how perfect and summery it makes this drink taste.

Of course, here at book coasters we always recommend responsible drinking and reckless reading, so please share your reading, and cocktail recipes for imbibing whilst reading, below!