It’s hard to define what makes a really great beach read. Romance? A gripping thriller? Hints of escapism? Or heartbreaking historical fiction that will have us tactically calling our sobbing hayfever?

Holidays allow a golden, guilt-free window of opportunity to read until we develop tan lines on our forehead. Finding the right book(s) to take with you can be difficult, you may already have an idea of what specific type of book you’re after but if you’ve yet to decide or you just want a good read heres what we suggest:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kessey

A paranoid schizophrenic, confined to an asylum, narrates a tale full of racial tension, sexual repression and confronts the treatment of the mentally ill. In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship, but this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents. Ken Kesey wrote this after his experiments with LSD. Brilliantly it shows…

The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie

One of the most controversial and acclaimed novels written, The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie’s best-known and most impelling book. Set in a modern world filled with both mayhem and miracles, the story begins with the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in mid-flight. Two Indian actors of opposing insight fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and what is evil. This novel looks at a man trapped between Eastern and Western cultures, and flits between times and continents. The fatwa issued because of critical references of the Prophet Mohammed saw Rushie go into hiding for over a decade.

Men Without Women – Ernest Hemingway

First published in 1927, Men Without Women represents some of Hemingway’s most important and compelling early writing. In these fourteen stories, Hemingway begins to examine the themes that would occupy his later works: the casualties of war, the often uneasy relationship between men and women, sport and sportsmanship. There’s a strong case to say all men should read all Hemingway, but as an introduction to his style and major themes, this collection of short stores is priceless and should wet the appetite to tackle the major novels. Perfect summer reading.