Summer Reading List & Book Hamper


Summer can be a great time to kick back and catch up on reading so, with the sun shining extra bright today, we’re bringing you a diverse mix of recently published books to help inspire that summer reading. There’s a selection of gripping, immersive and deeply funny fiction reads, taking you all around Dublin, to Cork, and sweeping back decades across the ocean to Boston; there’s nature writing, and writing about journeys experienced, taking you along the waterways, and from the mountains to the crashing waves; and last but not least a guide to living your most balanced summer yet!

And what do all these books have in common, aside from being great books? They’re all waiting in a book hamper to go out to one lucky DBF newsletter subscriber! Not subscribed yet? You can sign up here. You’ve got to be in it to win it! As we gear up towards our main festival in November, our newsletter will also be a great way to keep up-to-date with all our news as we have it. 

So what exactly is in this bumper summer book hamper? Read on and find out…


Youth by Kevin Curran, published by the Lilliput PressYouth by Kevin Curran dives into the lives of four teenagers – Angel, Princess, Dean and Tanya – in Ireland’s most diverse town, Balbriggan. Isolated and disorientated by the white noise and insurmountable expectations of adolescence, our protagonists are desperate to find anything that helps them belong. Oblivious to each other’s presence, potential and struggles, they pass on the street as strangers. But when they do intersect, the connections they make will change the course of their lives. Twenty-first century life – hyper-sexualized, social media saturated, anxiety-plagued – is here. Living inside its characters’ heads, and negotiating their interior landscapes, this book is a love song to the possibilities of youth. 

Published by The Lilliput Press. Available here


Wild Ireland by Carsten Krieger published by The O'Brien PressIn Wild Ireland, author and photographer Carsten Krieger takes us on a journey across Ireland to explore the nature we pass by every day. Discover alpine flowers blooming in the Burren, meet ferocious anemones on our shorelines, and visit the Shannon Dolphins, who have had a place in local legend for centuries. Fly with our ocean birds and experience their ever-more challenging search for food. Hear the dawn chorus in Killarney, surrounded by giant, ancient oaks, and look closely at our hedgerows, home to countless plants and animals. With respect and curiosity, Carsten lifts the veil on our delicate natural world and the dangers it faces due to human interference. Join him on his journey, in words and dazzling images, across Ireland to explore the wild and wonderful nature that surrounds us.

Published by The O’Brien Press. Available here


The 4 - 7 Zone by Dr Colman Noctor published by Gill BooksThe 4-7 Zone by Dr Colman Noctor shares the easy and effective way to live a balanced life and become your own therapist. Over many years working as a psychotherapist and clinical practitioner, Colman began to notice a pattern; every one of his clients was in the 0–3 or 8–10 zone – always doing too much or too little. In response, Colman has developed The 4-7 Zone to help you find the sweet spot in the middle, and to help you achieve balance and harmony. This life-changing method can be applied to every area of your life, helping you to become your own therapist and achieve a practical, sustainable rhythm

Published by Gill Books. Available here


Slant by Katherine O’Donnell is a ground-breaking Irish lesbian love story, set across the decades from the 1980s AIDS crisis to the 2015 marriage referendum. Ro McCarthy, single in her fifties and working a quiet job, is sustained by her love of books and her deep friendships. Although she still doesn’t approve of marriage – not even for the straights – she is canvassing for yes in the 2015 marriage equality referendum. But, as the ghosts of her activist past join her on the campaign trail and her eagerness to confront a familiar discrimination turns to obsession and fury, Ro must finally face the long-buried trauma and loss of her youth. Thirty years earlier, Ro is a young Cork woman living her best life in Boston, undocumented and working multiple jobs, making life-long friends, and falling in love with Jenny. Soon, however, the young gay men who have become Ro’s new family begin to die. Shocked and grieving, she finds purpose in AIDS activism and a community that is loving and living against all odds. In the wake of this macabre heyday which Ro just about survives, her charged entanglement with Jenny will bear witness to the resistance and survival of an invisible generation of warriors. 

Published by New Island. Available here


When They See Me by Gill Perdue, the second novel in the Shaw and Darmody series, is a chilling blend of crime and psychological thriller, propelled forward by a gripping, twisting plot and two strong female leads. When the body of an au pair missing from the heart of suburbia shows up, a two-year-old child is the only witness to her abduction. Detective and expert witness interviewer Laura Shaw knows the case needs her, but another case that nearly broke her is making her hesitate. Without her, her partner, Detective Niamh Darmody, is struggling. When the discovery of a second body blows all their theories out of the water, Laura and Niamh must accept that the killer is poised to strike again. All they know is that he is tantalisingly close, hidden in plain sight. But they won’t see him – not until he wants them to . . .

Published by Sandycove. Available here


My Hot Friend by Sophie White is a deeply funny and refreshingly honest novel about navigating the knotty, joyful and occasionally toxic swamp that is female friendship. The podcast Lexi co-hosts with her ride-or-die bestie Amanda is going stratospheric but cracks are appearing and Lexi’s starting to wonder if maybe monetising a friendship isn’t the best idea after all. Claire’s Whatsapp chat with her school friends is ominously quiet these days, which can only mean one thing: a side group without her. And when her newly-engaged supposed BFF doesn’t even consider her as a bridesmaid, Claire hatches a cunning plan to find a new best friend and show her old gang what they’re missing. Joanne’s just had a baby so she’s no longer available for tequila-fuelled nights out — something she has to keep reminding her pals about. She loves her son and her boyfriend Bert (even if his un-steeped porridge bowls are about to send her over the edge) but the loneliness is killing her. Fate brings Claire, Joanne and Lexi together as they each try to navigate their friendships, and decide which ones are worth fighting for. 

Published by Hachette Ireland. Available here


The Waters and the Wild by Gwen Wilkinson explores the trials and tranquilities of a journey on Ireland’s waterways, on a self-made canoe. In 2019, Gwen set herself the challenge of building a canoe and paddling it the length of Ireland, along a network of inland waterways. The Waters and the Wild explores the interwoven histories of the people and wildlife that shaped Gwen’s journey. As the adventure unfolds, she also shines a light on pioneering women who have left their mark on Ireland’s landscape – both natural and cultural. From wild camping on deserted islands to drifting on lakes in the company of restless lapwings, this book invites the reader to share an intense engagement with the natural world. The charming text is accompanied by the author’s own striking lino and woodcut prints, beautiful and thought-provoking interpretations of the flora and fauna she observed on her travels. Gwen Wilkinson paddled to explore, searching for inspiration and a desire to learn more about the island we inhabit, and she was met with experiences rich and illuminating, far beyond her expectations.

Published by the Merrion Press. Available here


A big thank you to all our publishers who contributed books to our summer hamper.

Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to be in with a chance of winning this great mix of books, along with another surprise or two thrown in for good measure. 

Happy summer reading.. and good luck!