Whether you’re planning on lounging at home or braving a trip overseas, it wouldn’t be summer without our team’s selection of the best books to help you relax and recharge over the break. Enjoy!

Best for…staying close to the law

Though they open by allowing that an “anonymous autobiography” is bordering on the ridiculous, Nothing but the Truth by The Secret Barrister, is anything but. Bringing their trademark anecdotes and fascination with the health of our wider justice system to the story of their own experiences building a career in the profession, the Secret Barrister once again manages to combine laugh-out-loud storytelling with a more sombre examination of the pretentions, mechanics and short-comings of the justice system in the UK.

Best for…a classic to revisit

First published in 2006, Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the story of the formation of Biafra, which seceded from Nigeria in 1967, and the resulting civil war. Following the relationships of a central family forced to flee the fighting, and the conflicts between them, it’s a many-layered work combining history, politics and storytelling. The richness of the novel means it more than repays the time you spend with it, prompting you to explore more of the author’s work and to learn more about the history of Nigeria and the conflict it describes.

Best for…thinking differently

Everything You Need to Know About the Menopause…is journalist, campaigner and documentary-maker Kate Muir’s explosive examination of how the medical establishment has failed to understand and support the menopause, and why that needs to change. Peppered with stories of her own experiences and others, this book is in place genuinely shocking and a vital read for anyone going through menopause, living with someone who is or supporting women at work.

Best for …non-fiction

Butler to the World: The book the oligarchs don’t want you to read… from Oliver Bullough is top of our non-fiction picks this summer. Bullough’s prose is ridiculously easy to read, yet belies an incredible amount of investigative effort that unpicks the history of UK deregulation of gambling, trusts and other money-making schemes and the consequences of some of these decisions for society and politics in the UK, former colonies and the rest of the world.

Best for…murder mystery

Author of Anatomy of a Scandal, which was adapted for Netflix earlier this year, Sarah Vaughn doesn’t disappoint with her latest thriller, Reputation, which tells the story of an MP accused of murder. The plotting and pacing are perfect for by the pool, whilst she also dives into some meaty themes around the treatment of women in the public eye and the potential harms of social media.

An extra contender here, It Ends at Midnight is the latest from barrister-turned-author Harriet Tyce. Whilst not as strong as her first, Blood Orange, this is another accomplished effort – with lots of insider courtroom atmosphere as a barrister finds herself the accused.

Best for…guilty pleasures

The Cult of We: WeWork and the Great Start-Up Delusion, by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell tells the story of WeWork, pieced together from accounts from earlier employees, investors and competitors. Given fresh prominence by the WeCrashed series that hit streaming services earlier this year, this is a tale of excess, bad behaviour and shattered dreams which will have your jaw dropping at every turn. 

Next, turn from corporate America to Hollywood and the West End, with My Unapologetic Diaries, from Joan Collins. Packed with unflattering depictions of the glamour and the graft of Joan’s post-Dynasty years and peppered with Joan’s inimitable score-settling, this is pure escapism at its very best and perfect holiday reading.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

C S Lewis

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