Scottish summer sizzlers: new book recommendations

Detail from the cover of Thirst by Kerry Hudson
Category: Reading

For those of us enjoying the Scottish version of the hot season – the twelve-degree temperature shifts in a single afternoon, the sodden festivals and the forlorn hope of ever combining sunshine, shaved legs and a Friday evening beer garden – a holiday in a less idiosyncratic climate beckons. But if Scotland isn’t your go-to beach destination, we’ve served up some sizzling summer reads for your sunlounger, or if you’re staying at home, to bring the heat to you.

Thirst by Kerry Hudson

Thirst by Kerry Hudson

(Published 17 July, Vintage)

Aberdonian Hudson is the author of the much-shortlisted Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma. Thirst is the story of a girl up to no good and the man whose job it is to catch her.

Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh

Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh

(9 June, Freight)

Tipped as ‘the voice of the next generation’, Mackintosh isn’t exactly Scottish, unless you can count living in Glasgow for a few years, but she’s published by Glaswegian press Freight and wrote Any Other Mouth while living here. This collection of short stories is provocatively labelled as ‘68% true’, leaving the reader to guess which of the disturbing, erotic and dangerous exploits described are autobiographical.

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau

The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau by Graeme Macrae Burnet

(17 July, Contraband (Saraband))

Winner of a New Writers Award in 2012, Burnet is one of Scottish Book Trust’s own picks for great Scottish writing, and his first novel doesn’t disappoint. Described as a ‘literary mystery novel’, this psychological thriller is the Scottish answer to the Scandinavian crime wave.

A Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

A Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh

(out now, John Murray)

If you’re wishing plague, murder and the apocalypse on your travelling companions by mid-week (is that just me?) then look no further than this viral thriller. London is in the grip of a pandemic, but someone is using the plague to cover up a murder spree.

Listen to our interview with Louise Welsh about A Lovely Way to Burn on the Book Talk podcast

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

(out now, Black Swan)

If, like me, you like to spend your holiday catching up on your reading list, Atkinson’s 2014 Costa Award-winning novel is one not to miss. Based around the question, 'if one thing was changed, what would your life be like?' Ursula’s life and death are repeated and transformed again and again to create a dazzling novel.

Listen to the Book Talk review of Life After Life.

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies

(out now, Short Books)

Nina is recovering from a doomed love triangle that ultimately destroyed her marriage, when she is hit by a car and condemned to three weeks in a hospital bed. As she ponders how she got to this point, she begins to unravel the choices, vanities and influences – her own and those of others – that built up her life. Winner of the Orwell and Wellcome prizes for her first book, Keeper, Gillies combines a wonderfully unreliable narrator with a deeply-layered love story.


What will you be taking on holiday? Do you read lighter fiction, catch up on literary prize shortlists, or go for a graphic novel on the beach? Can your Kindle survive sand, sea and slimy suntan-lotioned hands or do you pack paperbacks? And how much space do you need to leave in your suitcase for clothes, anyway?

Subscribe to our monthly e-updates for book lovers