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  • Words by Mr John Ortved

A contemporary summer reading list could easily be comprised of selections from Mr George R R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, Ms Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and perhaps some Ms Nora Ephron books for good measure. And it's not just because I have a thing for archery, or that I spend my weekends designing sigils and words for House Ortved. It's because those books represent a great deal of what we love about summer reading. Summertime gives us the luxury to fantasise. It's a time to get away, a time when we can carve space out of our lives to leave our offices, stake out long chairs, sip drinks with lemon and truly disappear into other worlds of pleasure, adventure, sex and mystery. It is in the summertime that we have the clearest view of Hosseini's kite races, the most open mind for Gilbert's prayers, the longest laughs for Sedaris' twisted family, and the direst hopes for Mantel's Cromwell. On these long, languid summer days, time is on our side; Egan's goon squad cannot catch us.

But MR PORTER's summer reading list is not fodder for your conditional - in this case seasonal - susceptibility (which any airport bookshop can do). Instead, it includes books that will enrich and not merely enrapt; works that will involve you and not merely provide an escape. Just because the summer is the right time for fantasy, that doesn't mean you need to waste it.