Whether you're off to foreign climes or taking a staycation lasting a weekend, a week or a month, it's the time of year when something a little bit steamy, or dreamy, or genre bending, and just plain out of the ordinary beckons you hither. The titles on your current reading list simply will not do. You want to be swept along on a tide of ideas and action. Not wishing to dislocate your brain altogether you need something brimming with originality but not so that you can't enjoy it at the same time as a nice cool something-or-other in a tall glass. So try these.

black water

BLACK WATER, Louise Doughty, Faber & Faber, £7.99

Feeling guilty-and-paranoid-as-hell-ex-black-ops-guy Harper meets hippy-chick-with-her-own-boat-to-row Rita in Bali; a country still bearing painful witness to the dispossession of the Balinese people in order to create a playground for western tourists. Harper's story is set within that of the Indonesian revolution and massacre in which the CIA were complicit, and the American civil rights movement. Rita's backstory is no less complex and gripping. Doughty writes this true modern history and love-not-love story fiction with a superbly deft and realistinc touch. By the end you might equally have raged at colonial injustice and wept into your beer at the possibility of redemption through compassion. 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the Indonesian genocide. Find more  here and in a review of the book from The Guardian here.

 sudden death

SUDDEN DEATH, Enrigue Alvaro, Vintage, £8.99

With Wimbledon on the go and rackets being dusted off what better time to read a book with tennis at its heart. And balls. Of the tennis kind and others. The characters opening the story are a couple of 16th century bad boys; the painter Caravaggio and the poet Quevedo slugging it out in some sort of grudge match using a ball made from Anne Boleyn's hair. A giant melting pot of current and historical figures, places, and events, real and imagined. As zippy and thumping as a centre court final. You may have trouble pronouncing Tenochtitlan after a few spritzers on a hot day but you won't regret this seriously brutal, farcical yet scholarly, and very very funny historical narrative. A New York Times review here

 red dirt

RED DIRT, E.M. Reapy, Head of Zeus, £7.99

Three Irish youngsters who made bad choices at home make some even worse ones when loosed into the fly-buzzingly stinking-hot red heart of a parched and malevloent central Aussie landscape. The hedonistic lifestyle offered up by the backpacking dream of cheap booze and drugs and seasonal farm work descends into chaos. A quietly terrifying and compelling read. You might think twice before necking that third can. A bit from The Iriish Times here.