Summer reading list 2021

Summer reading list 2021

Summer reading list 2021

Like travel, books can broaden horizons and offer a sense of escapism. With this in mind I have put together a reading list to delve into. I hope it sparks your creativity.


Book cover of 80 days around the world by Michael Palin with photo of the author and illustration of palm tress, buildings and taxis.

80 Days Around the World - Michael Palin

It would be fair to say Michael Palin is a national treasure. This book accompanied his television series. Written in diary format it documents his trip as he set out to follow the route around the world taken by Phileas Fogg. A great fast paced read that combines fact, history, acute observation and humour.

The white island book cover with the title in large white text overlaid on an aerial photo of a beach with people sunbathing.

The White Island: The Colourful History of the Original Fantasy Island, Ibiza - Stephen Armstrong

Lively take on the history of Ibiza. Taking in the Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, artists, exiles, hippies, and clubbers. It would be fair to say that the island’s location and attitude to life and outsiders have given it a very colourful past.

Coastlines book cover with illustration of the sea and the sun on the horizon.

Coastlines - The Story of our Shores - Patrick Barkham

A wonderfully descriptive journey around the British coastline in the care of the National Trust. A mixture of beautiful poetic prose, facts and history taking in plants, rocks, animals, people, views and walks.’ Complete with superb illustrations by Emily Faccini. Makes you want to get out and explore.

Travels with my aunt book cover featuring an illustrated map.

Travels with my Aunt - Graham Greene

‘The point is the journey…I enjoy the travelling not the sitting still.’

Classic Graham Greene novel in which a retired bank manager meets his aunt for the first time in 50 years. She subsequently persuades him to go travelling with her to Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, and Paraguay. Along the way they meet an assortment of intriguing and fascinating characters.

Art and culture

The future of the museum book cover in a pale cream colour with the title in red text and the authors name in black.

The Future of the Museum: 28 Dialogues - András Szántó

During 2020 when museums were forced to close due to the corona virus pandemic New York based cultural strategist conducted a series of conversations with international museum leaders. This book gathers them together giving us an insight into how world events both locally and globally are forcing museums to reflect and change. It gives us an idea of how those in charge of these institutions are working to make them more open, inclusive, technologically savvy, and more in tune with their communities.

Funny weather book cover with the black text on a pink background and a photo of an artwork by David Wojnarowicz.

Funny Weather - Art in an Emergency - Olivia Laing

‘We’re often told art can’t change anything. Laing argues that it can. It changes how we see the world, it exposes inequality, and it offers fertile new ways of living.’

Insightful and thought-provoking collection of essays on art and culture from writer and critic Olivia Laing. Features profiles of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Agnes Martin, Derek Jarman and Sarah Lucas. Compiles Laing’s writing from her Frieze magazine column. Brings together a selection of exhibition and book reviews. And ends with a series of ‘love letters’ to amongst others Arthur Russel, John Berger and Wolfgang Tillmans.


Book cover of The philosophy of Andy Warhol with photo of the artist drinking from a cup.

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol - Andy Warhol

Highly entertaining collection of writing by one of the most iconic artists of the twentieth century. Warhol muses on such subjects as sex, love, fame, art, beauty, work, and success. One you can dip into and revisit time and time again. Full of gems.

Book cover of Mr Pikes with illustration of Tony Pike with George Michael.

Mr Pikes - The Story Behind the Ibiza Legend - Tony Pike with Matt Trollope

Autobiography of the larger-than-life character and founder of the infamous Pikes hotel in Ibiza. Just like than man himself this is a hedonistic, fast paced, no holds barred account. From the video shoot at Pikes for Wham’s Club Tropicana to his relationships with guests that included George Michael, Freddie Mercury and lover Grace Jones, this book is a wild ride.


Book cover of From what is to what if by Rob Hopkins with an illustration of the landscape showing through circular cut outs.

From What Is To What If - Rob Hopkins

Powerful call to arms book by Transition Movement founder Rob Hopkins. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negativity and become overwhelmed by the scale of issues facing us. We can become paralysed into thinking we can’t do anything to change things. Using real life examples this book argues that we can and that the key to it is using our own imagination. Inspiring stuff. 

Book cover of Silence with the book title and an illustration of a mountain range in silver foil on a pale blue background.

Silence in the age of Noise - Erling Kagge

What is silence? Where can we find it? And why do we need it? Contemplative and calming journey to unlock the power of silence by Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge.