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Best summer reads - win £400 of brilliant books

(238 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 13-Jun-17 16:17:13

What is summer without a good book? And when it comes to good books, we have many excellent suggestions.

Here is a round-up of some of the best new reads for the summer holidays. One very (very!) lucky person can win the lot. All the details right here

To enter simply tell us about your best summer. It can be in as many (or few) words as you like. Prize draw will be made at midday on Weds 19 July.

My best summer... Now it's over to you

Grannyknot Tue 13-Jun-17 17:05:53

There is a song "When I was 17, it was a very good year" that always reminds me of 1966 and the summer after I finished school (Southern Hemisphere so we're talking December).

I had an adoring and adorable boyfriend (why did I ditch him?!), and was in that blissful state of "the world at my feet". Friends of his family owned a holiday cottage on the Cape Wilderness coast and a group of teenagers were let loose there for the holidays. Amazingly, my mother allowed me to go (probably being a bit naive about the level of freedom we would have).

This is a cover version of the song (swoon):

We swam, body surfed, walked along the beach for miles, made bonfires at night - and <...leaves the rest to imagination...>

nanaK54 Tue 13-Jun-17 17:10:41

Any summer when my sons were 'little' - days filled with innocence and simple pleasures......

chelseababy Tue 13-Jun-17 18:14:46

1976 summer i finished college....camping holiday with boyfriend. Happy days.

Mapleleaf Wed 14-Jun-17 09:20:02

Honeymoon in Paris. Came back broke, but what a wonderful city!

Alima Wed 14-Jun-17 09:25:02

The summer of '76, we got married in July of that year. Moved into our first married quarter in the September and missed having to use stand pipes for water by only days. Happy days.

yggdrasil Wed 14-Jun-17 10:52:45

My best summer, that would be 1967. I was at University. My grandmother got an invitation from one of the family in Canada to go and visit. She said, she was too old (?) and they should let me go stay instead. So I got a cheap flight via BUNAC, and went across the Atlantic.
My aunt lived in Ottawa, her husband worked at the Niagara Hydro.
So in the weeks I was with them, we went to Expo67 in Montreal, saw Niagara Falls from the outside and the inside, went sailing on Lake Ontario, and saw the play MacBird at Stratford, Ontario.
After I left them, I went to stay with an old friend of my mother's in Boston Mass. I took buses round New England, saw Plimouth Plantation and the Mayflower, before it was all completed with historical interpreters as it is today.
Finished up with a week in New York in a cheap hotel, seeing all the sights before flying home from JFK.
I look back now and think just how confident I was in those days. It's taken me 50 years of marriage and motherhood and worry to get halfway back to how I was at age 20 :-)

shysal Wed 14-Jun-17 11:23:53

I am another who loved the summer with my young children. I often remember DD2 dancing naked on the old kitchen table top without legs that we used for picnics, on her first birthday.

gillybob Wed 14-Jun-17 12:44:53

About 15 years ago DH and I hadn't had a holiday in years (its always been difficult to get away from work and family pressures) but after a particularly difficult year we persuaded ourselves that we really needed a holiday, just the two of us.

Anyway having left it all until last minute we were limited to what was left and eventually found a little place off the beaten track in Cyprus. It was miles away from anywhere with around 10 apartments and a little pool. We decided that we would hire a little car and just relax zzzzzzzzzzzz. Heaven

Anyway just a couple of weeks before we were due to go my poor mum was given the diagnosis that we were half expecting but dreading, when it was confirmed that she had bone cancer. My first thought was to cancel the holiday but my DH looked so deflated and the words were out of my mouth before my brain had engaged... "Why don't you and dad come with us? what harm could it be? we are hiring a car after all. You can relax, I'm sure the doctor would agree.... "

Anyway cutting a very long story short, the quiet, romantic holiday for 2 turned out to be a not so romantic holiday for 4. DH did more driving than we had originally intended as we toured the island. We found quiet beaches, we ate Meze, we visited museums, we shopped in Nicosia and it was worth it all just to see my mum (and dad) laughing (even if it was only for a short while).

Many years later (well only last year actually) my mum came home from hospital having made the heartbreaking decision that she wanted to die at home with her family around her. All sitting around her bed, listening to music we laughed together and talked about the old days. My mum said that one of her happiest memories was that holiday to Cyprus and asked to see the old photos. I found one from that holiday with mum peering through the bottom of 2 (Keo) beer bottles looking out to sea as if they were binoculars. My mum was tee total and never drank alcohol, which makes the photo all the funnier and it takes me back to one of the happiest holidays I can remember.

SueDonim Wed 14-Jun-17 14:31:38

I've been fortunate enough to have had lots of happy summers. I could choose the year my first baby was born, 1975, which was very good weatherwise, days of sitting in the garden with a gorgeous small baby, with the nappies drying on the line in no time; of walking to pub gardens with him in his pram in the evenings, for a cooling drink (us, not the baby!) and a holiday in Germany.

Or the summer of '87 when my first daughter was born, then her sister in 1996, with three adoring older siblings doting on her.

Or maybe it was the summers when my older children graduated and we were so very proud of them.

Perhaps it was the year we went to California for our son's Jewish wedding or the years we've been to America to see him and his family.

So many to choose from, how can I pick just one? smile

mbody Wed 14-Jun-17 16:24:35

Summer holidays with my daughter, we always ran out of holiday before we ran out of things to do!!

aggie Wed 14-Jun-17 17:02:04

Caravanning in Donegal in a static caravan with no "facilities" , cold tap, Portaloo in a toilet tent ( which blew away one night while someone was enthroned !,gas heating and lights . With 6 children from 3 months to teens ! We had a ball ! fresh (very)air meant that anything edible disappeared in moments . They all slept all night , except the baby , who managed to throw up most nights , due to me dozing and the wee darling gorging on my boob !Rain meant nothing , wellies and sowesters on and everyone out like puppies scrambling up the dunes and out till hunger drove them back for refuelling . I was left with baby and toddler a bucket of terry nappies in Napisan !Rinsed them under the cold tap and they dried in the wind , even in the rain they seemed to get semi dry !Big pot of spuds on the gas ring , several packets of sausages on another and a tin of beans meant supper , sometimes we got icecream from the shop . Did I mention OH took off home after 2 days ? The shop was a 15 minute walk over the fields . My lot all love caravanning and camping but say the campsites are too sophisticated compared to the farmers field in Donegal ........... not sure I would do it now , but they were halcyon days smileWe went back several years in a row , but the first one was the best

LadyGracie Wed 14-Jun-17 19:21:31

Summer of 69, in Malaysia, DD had a posting there, I saw my now DH and he saw me across a swimming pool, we were both and still are very shy, he was so handsome, the gazing at each other when ever the opportunity arose, went on until 2 days after my 18th birthday, June 14th 1969 (48 years ago today). I went to a party in the squadron mess, DH had had a few and spoke to me, that was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. We married in Singapore in 1970.

fionajk42 Wed 14-Jun-17 21:44:18

In 1976 my Greek flatmate's parents invited me to spend 6 weeks with them on their home island of Kefalonia, which was at that time very much off the beaten track. There was no electricity so we used oil lamps at night, and no running water so we had to draw water from the well every morning. To wash, you threw a bucket of water over yourself, then soaped yourself, then rinsed with another bucket of water. To get to the beach we'd have to hitch hike, often riding on the back of farmers' trucks piled high with fruit and vegetables. We ate at the local taverna, the only one in the small village, where the owner was very perplexed by my being vegetarian and kept trying to tempt me with various bits of meat. His saying to me "Thelis kreas?" (do you want meat?) while offering me souvlaki etc. became a standing joke. Back home, we would sit out on the veranda drinking ouzo and my friend's father, who had been a merchant seaman all his life, would tell us stories about his travels. He knew all the constellations and would point them out and tell us how they got their names. I've never seen as many shooting stars as I did back then, probably because there was no light pollution. My friend's parents kept apologising that it was not modern like England, but I loved it.

emmasnan Wed 14-Jun-17 21:52:30

The Summer of 1972, I was 16. Had my first proper job and at last had money to spend, a good social life and felt independent for the first time.

Maralyn7272 Thu 15-Jun-17 09:18:40

My best Summer is.....every year when I go on holiday with all my family and my grandchildren. We go fishing, catching crabs, hunting for fossils and if it's wet we make cakes, ice cream sundaes, pictures with shells, driftwood, buttons, etc. We have so much fun and I'm making the most of it whilst I still can. They're wonderful Summers spent in quality time with my granddaughters and memories I treasure until the next holiday.

realclareren Thu 15-Jun-17 11:22:43

My Best Summer may not seem much to many, but to my family, it was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to us.
My eldest son, at the age of 18 months was diagnosed with a range of special needs including global developmental delays, autistic traits and a number of chromosome abnormalities. He finds social situations and crowded places very difficult to process, and even going to the shop for a pint of milk was too much for him.
Due to the range of his needs, and the fact my husband and I were essentially dealing with this all on our own, holidays had always seemed like a distant dream.
In 2014, we were browsing on the internet and came acrosss a secluded self catering cottage in the middle of nowhere near Lyme Regis that had become available last minute for four nights.
We just looked at each other and thought 'What the hell!' If it's too much, we would turn around and come home.
We prepared our son by showing him pictures of the cottage and talking about it and telling him he could take his Thomas trains with him! Our other little boy was so excited he packed his suitcase and slept in his swim shorts!
When we arrived at the cottage, our eldest son was so happy he jumped up and down and ran around the garden, and told us he was at his new home!
Those four days were the best we had spent as a family for a long time, and although it was full on, we loved every single minute and we finally had a holiday with our children- just like everyone else.

quizqueen Thu 15-Jun-17 13:04:49

We got posted to the USA for 3 years and, although I wasn't that happy there in general, we did spend one lovely summer in Pasadena for six weeks as part of my husband's job. We had a fantastic hotel, lovely food and met some really nice and interesting people.

weather Thu 15-Jun-17 14:19:34

My best summer
Well that's a tricky one.
I think it was in 1971 when at long last my husband came out of the Royal Navy...we had just spent a year apart so, so much joy at being together again as a family. We had to take rented accommodation in an old house in a valley way out in the country side, being a country girl at heart how I loved that place.Sadly we only stayed 1 year but my memories there are so happy.

mary97 Thu 15-Jun-17 14:43:01

The Summer of '76 - no summer has been as long or as hot since!

Maggiemaybe Thu 15-Jun-17 15:32:30

It's probably a difficult question for most of us - we've a lot of summers behind us and we'll all have a store of wonderful memories. smile

One that is particularly evocative for me is the summer of 1972. A-levels finished, beret, tie and repressive school rules tossed aside for the last time, and my friends and I were free for several glorious weeks. Living on the coast we spent every waking moment by the beach, in the cliff caves, hanging around the penny arcades and the little fairground chatting up the young attendants for free gos on the penny falls and waltzers.

No wonder we were fit and lean - racing the cliff lift, and each other, up into town, haring along the beach to the next town while the tide was out (there were some near misses!), lunching on what little we could afford from the seafood and hotdog stalls. We'd wade up to our waists into the sea with the idea that this would shrink our jeans to fit - I'm pleased to say that all the concerned old ladies who told us this would give us arthritis were wrong, in my case at least. grin

It seemed as if the sun was always shining that summer - memory is a wonderful thing!

jackiemc24 Thu 15-Jun-17 15:35:45

Twenty year overdue, but I've just read Arundhaty Roy's The God of Small Things. It has profound themes told with a lightness of touch and engages the reader in an almost playful way whilst evoking all the sounds, smells and tastes of India.
Can't wait to read her new book.

hartley123 Thu 15-Jun-17 15:46:05

I suppose the best summer was 1967, when I went youth hostelling with the school in the Yorkshire dales. They were 16 of us and I have loved the Dales ever since

janeyf Thu 15-Jun-17 15:54:45

The long school Summer holidays with 6 weeks off and lots of family time playing in the paddling pool and getting ice creams together. Simple pleasures

sophie56 Thu 15-Jun-17 16:02:08

Staying in a friends chalet in Switzerland, going to get fresh milk from a local farm in and urn, hearing the cow's bells, walking in the mountains with my family and friends.

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