Home/Summer Reads

It’s that time of year again! Time to start planning some great Summer Reading so that you can kick back, enjoy the sunshine (or hide from the hailstones) and unwind with a great book… Our Gutter booksellers have independently chosen the best books to read this Summer so do have a browse and travel the world with one of our great Summer Reads. And remember – we offer Free Postage in ROI on orders over €30 – just choose the Free Postage option at checkout.

  • *This title is currently sold out due to huge sudden demand. We are hoping to get more stock by mid-June but all the warehouses have currently run out of stock as well! We will fulfill orders just as soon as we can source more stock.* From women's solidarity and friendship to forgotten African scholars and the dubious provenance of Kim Kardashian's braids, the scope of black hairstyling ranges from pop culture to cosmology, from prehistoric times to the (afro)futuristic. Uncovering sophisticated indigenous mathematical systems in black hairstyles, alongside styles that served as secret intelligence networks leading enslaved Africans to freedom, Don't Touch My Hair proves that far from being only hair, black hairstyling culture can be understood as an allegory for black oppression and, ultimately, liberation. SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2019 IRISH BOOK AWARDS 'Groundbreaking . . .a scintillating, intellectual investigation into black women and the very serious business of our hair, as it pertains to race, gender, social codes, tradition, culture, cosmology, maths, politics, philosophy and history' Bernardine Evaristo ISBN 9780141986289
  • Love was the final consolation, would set ablaze the fields of my life in one go, leaving nothing behind. I thought of it as a force which would clean me and by its presence make me worthy of it. There was no religion in my life after early childhood, and a great faith in love was what I had cultivated instead. Oh, don't laugh at me for this, for being a woman who says this to you. I hear myself speak. Even now, even after all that took place between us, I can still feel how moved I am by him. Ciaran was that downy, darkening blond of a baby just leaving its infancy. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. None of it mattered in the end; what he looked like, who he was, the things he would do to me. To make a beautiful man love and live with me had seemed-obviously, intuitively-the entire point of life. My need was greater than reality, stronger than the truth, more savage than either of us would eventually bear. How could it be true that a woman like me could need a man's love to feel like a person, to feel that I was worthy of life? And what would happen when I finally wore him down and took it? ISBN 9781787333369
  • Between life and death there is a library... When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren't always what she imagined they'd be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live? ISBN 9781786892737
  • Nora Ephron meets Bram Stoker in Sophie White's vivid and ambitious literary non-fiction collection. White asks uncomfortable questions about the lived reality of womanhood in the 21st century, and the fear that must be internalised in order to find your path through it. ISBN 9781916291461
  • They're a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together - birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they're a happy family. Johnny's wife, Jessie - who has the most money - insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much ... Everything stays under control until Ed's wife Cara, gets concussion and can't keep her thoughts to herself... ISBN 9781405918787
  • Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah's Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation. In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive. At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London - escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country - but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality. Rainbow Milk is a bold exploration of race, class, sexuality, freedom and religion across generations, time and cultures. Paul Mendez is a fervent new writer with an original and urgent voice. ISBN 9780349700588
  • In 1973, twenty-year-old Moll Gladney takes a morning bus from her rural home and disappears. Bewildered and distraught, Paddy and Kit must confront an unbearable prospect: that they will never see their daughter again. Five years later, Moll returns. What - and who - she brings with her will change the course of her family's life forever. Beautiful and devastating, this exploration of loss, alienation and the redemptive power of love reaffirms Donal Ryan as one of the most talented and empathetic writers at work today. *SHORTLISTED for Dalkey Literary Awards Novel of the Year 2021* ISBN 9781784163044
  • When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents' money, it's called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she's not sure what to call it, but it involves:- a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children;- Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room;- Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks;- money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections. Exciting times ensue. 'A sharp, smart, witty modern love story. I loved it' David Nicholls, author of ONE DAY 'More than lives up to the hype ... Likely to fill the Sally-Rooney-shaped hole in many readers' lives' IRISH TIMES 'Droll, shrewd and unafraid - a winning debut' Hilary Mantel 'A frankly sensational book' Pandora Sykes *SHORTLISTED for Dalkey Literary Awards Emerging Writer of the Year 2021* ISBN 9781474613460
  • A woman known for her viral social media posts travels the world speaking to her adoring fans, her entire existence overwhelmed by the internet or what she terms the portal . Are we in hell? the people of the portal ask themselves. Are we all just going to keep doing this until we die? Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: 'Something has gone wrong,' and 'How soon can you get here?' As real life and its stakes collide with the increasing absurdity of the portal, the woman confronts a world that seems to contain both an abundance of proof that there is goodness, empathy and justice in the universe, and a deluge of evidence to the contrary. Irreverent and sincere, poignant and delightfully profane, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the infinite scroll and a meditation on love, language and human connection from one of the most original voices of our time. 'I really admire and love this book. Patricia Lockwood is a completely singular talent and this is her best, funniest, weirdest, most affecting work yet' Sally Rooney. 'A furiously original novel, alive and unstable' Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror. ISBN 9781526633835
  • Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend: Violet's life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more - better friends, better sex, a better job - and she wants it now. So, when Lottie - who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up - offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives. Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it grant her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking? Insatiable is about women and desire - lust, longing and the need to be loved. It is a story about being unable to tell whether you are running towards your future or simply running away from your past. The result is at once tender and sad, funny and hopeful. 'Extremely funny, touching and wonderfully refreshing on women and sexual desire' Marian Keyes 'As filthy as it is funny, you won't be able to put it down' Dolly Alderton ISBN 9780751580181
  • When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for 'kidnapping' the white child she's actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix's desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know - about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege. ISBN 9781526612168
  • 'It was my father's arrest that brought me here, although you could certainly say that I took the scenic route.' Here is rehab, where Ben - the only son of a rich South Dublin banker - is piecing together the shattered remains of his life. Abruptly cut off, at the age of 27, from a life of heedless privilege, Ben flounders through a world of drugs and dead-end jobs, his self-esteem at rock bottom. Even his once-adoring girlfriend, Clio, is at the end of her tether. Then Ben runs into an old school friend who wants to cut him in on a scam: a shady property deal in the Balkans. The deal will make Ben rich and, at one fell swoop, will deliver him from all his troubles: his addictions, his father's very public disgrace, and his own self-loathing and regret. Problems solved. But something is amiss. For one thing, the Serbian partners don't exactly look like fools. And, for another, Ben is being followed everywhere he goes. Someone is being taken for a ride. But who? Large Paperback Edition. ISBN 9781847378064
  • As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two - and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away. Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother's life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family's story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America. 'I would say that Transcendent Kingdom is a novel for our time (and it is) but it is so much more than that. It is a novel for all times. The splendor and heart and insight and brilliance contained in the pages holds up a light the rest of us can follow' Ann Patchett. ISBN 9780241433386
  • For fans of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister tells Mary's story... It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful. To be handsome and poor is misfortune enough; but to be both plain and penniless is a hard fate indeed. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mary is the middle of the five Bennet girls and the plainest of them all, so what hope does she have? Prim and pious, with no redeeming features, she is unloved and seemingly unlovable. The Other Bennet Sister, though, shows another side to Mary. An introvert in a family of extroverts; a constant disappointment to her mother who values beauty above all else; fearful of her father's sharp tongue; with little in common with her siblings - is it any wonder she turns to books for both company and guidance? And, if she finds her life lonely or lacking, that she determines to try harder at the one thing she can be: right. One by one, her sisters marry - Jane and Lizzy for love; Lydia for some semblance of respectability - but Mary, it seems, is destined to remain single and live out her life at Longbourn, at least until her father dies and the house is bequeathed to the reviled Mr Collins. But when that fateful day finally comes, she slowly discovers that perhaps there is hope for her, after all. Simultaneously a wonderfully warm homage to Jane Austen and a delightful new story in its own right, Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister is, at its heart, a life-affirming tale of a young woman finding her place in the world. Witty and uplifting, it will make you feel - and cheer - for Mary as you never have before. ISBN 9781509842049
  • In The End of the World is a Cul de Sac the political is intertwined with the personal, as Louise Kennedy reveals how ordinary lives can get caught up in a wider, national drama. Sarah, abandoned by her partner, sits alone in their brand new house. Orla, facing the strange revenge of her husband, is forced to judge a contest in the local f te. Peter raises his daughter in rural seclusion, at what might as well be the end of the world. Kennedy started writing at the age of forty-seven, and her prose is instilled with a clarity and wisdom born of her own experience. This collection announces a major new voice in literary fiction for the twenty-first century. ISBN 9781526623287
  • Seizing upon the energy of the #MeToo movement, feminist activist Mona Eltahawy advocates a muscular, out-loud approach to teaching women and girls to harness their power through what she calls the seven necessary sins that women and girls are not supposed to commit: to be angry, ambitious, profane, violent, attention-seeking, lustful, and powerful. All the necessary sins that women and girls require to erupt. Eltahawy knows that the patriarchy is alive and well, and she is fed the hell up: Sexually assaulted during hajj at the age of fifteen. Groped on the dance floor of a night club in Montreal at fifty. Countless other injustices in the years between. Illuminating her call to action are stories of activists and ordinary women around the world from South Africa to China, Nigeria to India, Bosnia to Egypt who are tapping into their inner fury and crossing the lines of race, class, faith, and gender that make it so hard for marginalized women to be heard. Rather than teaching women and girls to survive the poisonous system they have found themselves in, Eltahawy arms them to dismantle it. Brilliant, bold, and energetic The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls is a manifesto for all feminists in the fight against patriarchy. ISBN 9781916291447
  • Kieran Elliott's life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home. Kieran's parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn. When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl and questions that have never washed away... ISBN 9781408711996
  • Dublin, 1904. Nora Joseph Barnacle is a twenty-year-old from Galway working as a maid at Finns Hotel. She enjoys the liveliness of her adopted city and on June 16Bloomsdayher life is changed when she meets Dubliner James Joyce, a fateful encounter that turns into a lifelong love. Despite his hesitation to marry, Nora follows Joyce in pursuit of a life beyond Ireland, and they surround themselves with a buoyant group of friends that grows to include Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and Sylvia Beach. But as their life unfolds, Nora finds herself in conflict between their intense desire for each other and the constant anxiety of living in poverty throughout Europe. She desperately wants literary success for Jim, believing in his singular gift and knowing that he thrives on being the toast of the town, and it eventually provides her with a security long lacking in her life and his work. So even when Jim writes, drinks, and gambles his way to literary acclaim, Nora provides unflinching support and inspiration, but at a cost to her own happiness and that of their children. With gorgeous and emotionally resonant prose, Nora is a heartfelt portrayal of love, ambition, and the quiet power of an ordinary woman who was, in fact, extraordinary. ISBN 9781848407893
  • From the widely renowned author Andrew O'Hagan, a heartbreaking novel of an extraordinary lifelong friendship. Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news. Mayflies is a memorial to youth's euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love. ISBN 9780571273713
  • Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man takes a job driving a haulage lorry through France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger - his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails. With a week on the road together, man and girl must attempt to restore themselves and each other, and to repair a relationship that is at once fiercely loving and deeply scarred. As the pair journey down the motorways and through the service stations of France, a devastating picture reveals itself: a story of grief, of shame, and of love in all its complex, dark and glorious manifestations. ISBN 9781781620533
  • 'Captivating, potent, incisive, and wise, a moving story of a young woman finding her courage for life' Madeline Miller, author of Circe. Casey has ended up back in Massachusetts after a devastating love affair. Her mother has just died and she is knocked sideways by grief and loneliness, moving between the restaurant where she waitresses for the Harvard elite and the rented shed she calls home. Her one constant is the novel she has been writing for six years, but at thirty-one she is in debt and directionless, and feels too old to be that way - its strange, not be the youngest kind of adult anymore. And then, one evening, she meets Silas. He is kind, handsome, interested. But only a few weeks later, Oscar walks into her restaurant, his two boys in tow. He is older, grieving the loss of his wife, and wrapped up in his own creativity. Suddenly Casey finds herself at the point of a love triangle, torn between two very different relationships that promise two very different futures. Lily King's 'Writers & Lovers' follows Casey in the last days of a long youth, a time when everything - her family, her work, her relationships - comes to a crisis. Hugely moving and impossibly funny, it is a transfixing novel that explores the terrifying and exhilarating leap between the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. It is a novel about love and creativity, and ultimately it captures the moment when a woman becomes an artist. ISBN 9781529033137
  • Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins - aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony - and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after the other, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family? What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institutes of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother, to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amidst profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations. With clarity and compassion, bestselling and award-winning author Robert Kolker uncovers one family's unforgettable legacy of suffering, love and hope. ISBN 9781787473829
  • His name was Joseph, but for years they had called him Panenka, a name that was his sadness and his story. Panenka has spent 25 years living with the disastrous mistakes of his past, which have made him an exile in his home town and cost him his dearest relationships. Now aged 50, Panenka begins to rebuild an improvised family life with his estranged daughter and her seven year old son. But at night, Panenka suffers crippling headaches that he calls his Iron Mask. Faced with losing everything, he meets Esther, a woman who has come to live in the town to escape her own disappointments. Together, they find resonance in each other's experiences and learn new ways to let love into their broken lives. The new novel from the bestselling author of 'Leonard and Hungry Paul'. ISBN 9781910422670
  • Being Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya. Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands. Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever. 'I lived every scene as I read' Donal Ryan. ISBN 9781526624475