Royal & Derngate’s Recommended Summer Reading

Ian Rankin, Julia Donaldson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Morpurgo…the list of authors is as varied as the shows on our stages.

While the sun continues to shine, our staff have been preparing for the autumn by reading the wide range of books that will soon come to life in stage adaptation at Royal & Derngate. We wanted to share that list with you to inspire your summer reading – and perhaps your next visit to the theatre.

Adult Fiction

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold 

This world-famous novel tells the story of a murdered teenage girl named Susie Salmon, who follows the lives of her family and friends from her personal heaven, whilst coming to terms with her own death. A unique coming-of-age story that explores life and death, whilst finding light in the darkest of places.

Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin 

Detective Inspector John Rebus has been the primary protagonist of Ian Rankin‘s long running crime-fiction series since Knots and Crosses was first published in 1987. These novels and short stories have been adapted for television and radio, but for the latest addition in the series Rankin has worked alongside Rona Monroe (The James Plays) to bring  his beloved creation to the stage for the very first time in Rebus: Long Shadows

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo 

Although intended as a novel for older children, Michael Morpurgo‘s (War Horse) story of a young soldier reflecting on his time on front line during World War One is also regarded as a great read for young adults. Each chapter moves the reader closer to the present day as Private Tommo Peaceful looks back on his time in the trenches and the senselessness of war.

Touching The Void by Joe Simpson

Recounting his successful but disastrous and nearly fatal adventure in the Peruvian Andes, Joe Simpson‘s biography recounts how he and climbing partner Simon Yates reached the summit of Siula Grande in June 1995 and the struggle for survival that followed.

Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

This popular psychological thriller follows Rachel Watson, a woman on a downward spiral who longs for a different life. Told from the point of view of three women, The Girl On The Train is a thrilling mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the final moment.

Remains Of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 

A contemporary classic, The Remains Of The Day received the Man Booker Prize For Fiction on it’s publication in 1989. This historical novel tells the tale of an English butler who explores his past through a series of flashbacks, giving an intimate glimpse into one man’s half-lived life, realised too late.

Family Reading

The Snail And The Whale by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler 

Another fun and colourful adventure from longtime collaborators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s whose previous books include The Gruffalo, Stick Man and Room On The Broom. This story is a terrific tale about a snail who hitches a ride on a whale and explores the world on a fantastic adventure.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy 

Long before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble. An ordinary girl who found herself in an extraordinary place: a school for witches. Mildred’s story is told over eight books, beginning with The Worst Witch which was published in 1974 and concluding with First Prize For The Worst Witchwhich is scheduled for release in early September this year.