Summer Reading Guide

The Summer holidays are the perfect time to step back from the chaos of everyday life and bury your nose in a paperback. Here are some hints for your reading list this Summer…

Hungerford Bookshop’s Summer Reading

Looking for something to make you think, help your relaxation or grab you with both (metaphorical) hands? The Hungerford Bookshop has put together a collection of 28 books for the holidays, to peruse at your leisure. Titles include: Dear Mrs Bird, by AJ Pearce; Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles; The Summer of Impossible Things, by Rowan Coleman; and This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell. Please click here for the full list. It’s also worth noting that there is plenty more choice on the shelves!

Book Reviews by Hilary Stockwell

Like a lot of girls growing up in the 1960’s, my early reading began with Enid Blyton, Pat Smythe, Malcolm Saville and Mary O’Hara. For a while in my teens, books were eschewed for magazines such as Jackie and Cosmopolitan but it was during college that the true appreciation of the deeper delight of books was taught to me. Thirty years on and I am reading as often as I can and am delighted to share my recommendations!

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
Hero the Greyhound by Fiona Bennett
I Need a Wife: a Poetry Anthology by Toni Kent
Summertime by Vanessa Lafaye
A Twist in the Tale: Short stories by the Inkpen Writers
Please take care of this book: poetry by Suzi Cairns
Common Words: Greenham Common Poetry by Steve Wallis

Book of the Month from Hungerford Bookshop

The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden is a tense, evocative and beautiful portrait of love and deceit in the Champagne country of the Marne (which was made into a memorable film starring Kenneth More and Susannah York).

Set in the late 1950s, the events centre on the faded elegance of Les Oeillets, with its bullet-scarred staircase and serene garden bounded by high walls, which becomes the setting for a series of emotional struggles. These involve Eliot, the charming Englishman; sophisticated Mademoiselle Zizi, hotel patronne, and Eliot’s devoted lover; and beautiful 16-year-old Joss who, with her younger siblings, unexpectedly becomes part of the household.

I re-read this recently and the sultry weather brought back memories of this wonderful coming-of-age story. It’s beautifully written and based on a real episode in Godden’s life. It’s incredibly atmospheric and like all good books, stays in your mind long after reading. Along with Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, and Rosamond Lehmann’s Dusty Answer – also strongly recommended  I will look forward to sharing this with my daughter when she is older.

If you’re stuck for something to read, then we suggest you look no further than this monthly series of book reviews provided by Emma and Alex of our local multi-award-winning local reading emporium, the Hungerford Bookshop. The shop stocks an excellent range of new and second-hand books and what they don’t have on the shelves can normally order for next-day delivery. You can also visit their online shop by clicking here. For previous Books of the Month, please click here

Something for the Children…

This year’s library Summer Reading Challenge is Mischief Makers! See if you can help Dennis the Menace, Rubi, Pieface, JJ and Gnasher find an treasure chest of epic pranks in Beanotown. Read six (or more!) library books to collect special stickers that will reveal the location of the treasure on your map of Beanotown.

Taking part in the Challenge is simple – just sign up for free at your local library, where you’ll get your very own map of Beanotown to get you started. Click here or visit your local library for more information.

Young Readers’ Reviews

One sun, one moon, two stars by Margaret Armand Smith
The White Tower by Margaret Armand Smith
Cooking up a Storm: a cookbook by Sam Stern

Get involved…

If you have a favourite read of your own, why not submit your review to Penny Post so others can enjoy that special story too? Just email

Would you like to help local children learn to read? Berkshire charity ABC to Read provides access to reading mentors for pupils who struggle with their reading skills. For more information about training days or joining the scheme as a school or volunteer mentor, contact


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