Look no further for our top beach-read recommendations... 

Sunscreen... toothbrush... passport... aren't you forgetting something? If you're lucky enough to be jetting away from the so-called summer here in Derry-Londonderry, you'll need something great to read at the beach, and the last thing you want is to panic-grab the first paperback you see at the airport. Fear not, for the literature experts at Verbal have got you covered with the best short stories for a summer getaway! 

Whether you're catching waves at Portrush or Pipeline, Liam O'Flaherty's 'The Wave' will let you explore the coast from a whole new point of view. This story is told from the perspective of the cliff and the waves, who have been at battle for centuries. O'Flaherty was one of Ireland's greatest short storytellers, and was also a prolific novelist who wrote in both Irish and English. This story in particular is exciting for its depiction of nature as relentless, dangerous, and altogether human. 

Or perhaps your vacation is a time for exploring, in which case the perfect story for you is Doris Lessing's 'Through The Tunnel', which tells the story of a young boy on holiday with his mother who challenges himself to swim through a dangerous sea tunnel with some older boys. This story isn't for the faint of heart, as Lessing writes the boy's terror at drowning in such a believable way that you could easily be too scared to go for a dip after reading. But what's really striking about this story is how optimistic it is; though the protagonist is challenged by the magnitude of the task, he is determined to go for it anyway. Lessing became the oldest ever Nobel laureate for literature in 2007 at the age of 88, showing us that the spirit of adventure is for all ages. 

If you prefer a more traditional fare, an old-fashioned crime thriller is the thing for you. The granddaddy of crime fiction, of course, is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Sherlock Holmes stories were so instantly popular that when Doyle killed off the detective in 1893, there was such intense public outcry that he had to reverse his decision and resurrect the detective. His story 'A Scandal in Bohemia' is a classic example of the suspense and intrigue for which Holmes stories were so famed. Can you solve the mystery of the photograph of Irene Adler before Holmes does?

Finally, for those who want something a bit topical, one of our very favourite stories is Ray Bradbury's 'All Summer In A Day', a deeply human sci-fi story about a colony of humans on Venus whose children have never seen the sun. When they finally get a glimpse, it has a profound effect on them all. Though this encounter with the sun reads more 'climate emergency' than 'one small step for man' these days, Bradbury's affecting prose gives a new meaning to the phrase sun worshiper and will have you reaching for the factor 50 in no time.

What will you be reading this summer?