Summer Reading Recommendations - Classic Edition

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

This book caught me off guard. Going in I had not expected to feel so moved by its tale of one man’s obsessive search for an elusive white whale. The beginning is humorous, the middle detailed and the ending extraordinary, all the whilst profound. It is a long book, often uncompromising, but to turn the last page of a book and feel as though you yourself have been on a voyage is something quite transporting. And Melville’s descriptions of the sea are some of the most awe-inspiring I’ve read. This is a fantastic book to journey with during the summer months, especially if you have the opportunity to read a few pages by the sea.

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This book is wonderful on so many levels. It has fantastic characters, including nature itself, and ignites this sense of wondrous joy in what the world has to offer beyond our doorsteps. We both cheer on and grow with Mary as she explores further outside of her routine and comfort, and discovers magic because of it.

For more reasons to read, and even reread, The Secret Garden, I would very much recommend my interview with Hamish Martin, herbologist and naturalist from the Secret Herb Garden, Edinburgh. He has an incredible way with words and inspiring outlook on life and nature.

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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Based on the real life Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe is a tale of one man’s survival on a deserted tropical island. The setting being luscious and lonely allows Crusoe both time for insightful reflection and space to learn key survival skills, many of which, for the readers among us who have contemplated how we would survive marooned an island, we can sympathise with. This is a great tale to enjoy over the summer months safe in the knowledge that, for the time being, one is not marooned on a tropical island for 28 years!

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Emma by Jane Austen

Emma is somewhat an arbitrary pick here from Jane Austen’s novels - I in fact recommend them all as summer reads, but chose to highlight Emma just now because of its wit and charm. It’s fresh, has a host of ridiculous characters - including Emma who is endearing and sometimes frustratingly maddening - and is both a great light and investing read to enjoy sitting outdoors in summer sunshine.

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journal recommendations

if you enjoyed The Secret Garden why not try…

The Magic of Nature - Interview with Hamish Martin