Summer holiday reading – a £15 Kindle store challenge

I’m going to be taking a good chunk of annual leave soon, so I’ll need some sort of summer reading list. Rather than looking at a broadsheet for a list of unlikely awards fodder, I thought I’d put this out to my pals, to see what ideas they have. Some of you make me jealous with your knowledge of good reads, so don’t let me down. Oh, and I thought I’d make it a challenge with some daft rules designed to unearth some gems.

The rules:
  1. spend no more than £15.00;
  2. I must be able to load everything onto a Kindle (but I don’t have to get it from Amazon);
  3. you can list as many titles as you like, but all of the categories (below) must be covered;
  4. you’re allowed 140 characters to sell each selection to me;
  5. try to pick something you think I haven’t read.
The categories:
  1. a literary classic;
  2. something by a new author;
  3. a page turner of a thriller;
  4. something which is stylistically interesting;
  5. a short story, or series of short stories.
If you don’t know my reading tastes: I enjoyed A-level English Literature very much; my favourite author is Iain Banks; my favourite novel is The Crow Road; my favourite trashy airport novel writer is Harlan Coben; the most interesting novel I’ve read in terms of language and style is Ridley Walker.

So what do you reckon? Tell me below in the comments. Please do big up your favourite new author, unearth some free gems, or share with me the classic you read at A-Level and why it’s important I read it.

I promise to tell you which I read* and share my thoughts. 

Published by

Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research:

  • Jon Hickman

    * I can’t guarantee I’ll get through them all while I’m on leave – that’s up to my son letting me have some time to myself

  • dazwright

    It’s a little bit last year but I only got round to it this year. For a page turner The Passage by Justin Cronin. Much older but stylistically interesting, I Play The Drums in a Band Called OK by Toby Litt. I also love Toby Litt’s Journey Into Space, it has odd parts to it but is quite Sci Fi.

  • djeglin

    Literary Classic: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de BernieresIt has love, war, brutality, heroism and more, all wrapped up in one neat little package. An interesting viewpoint on WWII, richly narrated.New Author / Thriller:Kill Your Friends by John NivenTough one this one. John Niven isn’t exactly new, per-sé… He’s been around a couple of years by now. This is his first novel (to the best of my knowledge) and its electric. Vicious, hilarious, totally inappropriate and with loads of geeky knowledge about the 90s music industry. Short Stories/ Stylistically Interesting / Thriller:Fragile Things by Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman is a master of fantasy writing anyway, but some of the short stories contained herein are in unusual territory or styles for him. Look out for an H.P. Lovecraft meets Sherlock Holmes story, and a story written in the style of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.All told, I think that adds up to about your £15 mark, and covers all the bases. If I had to pick one of the 3 I mentioned, it would be Kill Your Friends. It is easily the most surprising book I have read in recent years. Maybe not the best written of the 3, but I couldn’t stop reading it, regardless.

  • benjiw

    Suggestions:1.a literary classic;The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley2.something by a new author;Bed by David Whitehouse. (No relation)3.a page turner of a thriller;Paradise Now by Jari Moate(Or Exile by Richard North Patterson)4.something which is stylistically interesting;Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.5.a short story, or series of short stories.Yoga for people who can’t be bothered.Let me know what you think about those and I can adjust suggestions further.

  • Jon Hickman

    Thanks for the responses. In the end I went for one from each, and I blew the budget by a WHOLE POUND.So we’ve got -Exile by Richard North Pattersonof all the page turners, this one looked the most interesting. The other two may well be interesting but they both went for the whole overlapping narratives thing – they sounded like the same book :)I Play The Drums in a Band Called OK by Toby LittIf I saw this in a shop I’d have to buy it. Yeah, it’s a classic genre title that screams “pick me up I’m interesting” but I am a sucker for that sort of thing.Fragile Things by Neil GaimanI like Neil Gaiman, not looked at his work for a while, and Dave’s description suggests I’m in for a treat.I’m short a literary classic, so I’ll probably through Wuthering Heights on there (£0) as Corrina is bewildered that I’ve never read it.Thanks for your help!

  • Jon Hickman

    Oh I forgot to say – I’ve added the others to my wishlist for later, and I’d forgotten how cool the sample chapter feature on kindle was