Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List
Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Thursday, January 11, 2018
What is one of the best parts about a summer holiday? Getting the chance to make a dent in the to-read pile of books you have been amassing throughout the year.
While some prescribe to the idea that a summer read should be light-hearted, breezy and perfect fodder for a beach day; that isn't always the case. Your idea of a great summer read could be something short, a story you can thumb through in less time than it takes for the ice to melt in your drink. You might be looking to become consumed with a thrilling crime novel, trying to solve the mystery before the author lets on just whodunnit. Perhaps you heard about a book from a friend and never got around to picking it up, or maybe you saw the trailer for (but never watched) a big screen adaptation of a novel that made you think, 'I want to read that before seeing it'. No matter if you'll be reading by the pool at a luxury resort, on a sandy patch at your favourite beach, in bed on a lazy Sunday morning or in your own backyard; summer is a time for reading. So to bolster your reading list for the rest of the warm weather season, here are 12 page-turners to consider adding to your book stack.
The Trauma Cleaner, Sarah Krasnostein
Biography, True Crime
Not your typical light-hearted beach read; Sarah Krasnostein’s debut novel The Trauma Cleaner is the compelling biography of Sandra Pankhurst. Sandra is a trauma cleaner: cleaning houses for hoarders, victims of violent crimes and many in between. The novel chronicles Sandra’s 20 year-strong career and chapters alternate between detailing her past, and present-day interactions with clients.
Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
Suspense and Thriller
It was the book-turned-HBO mini-series that dominated early in 2017, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies proves an enthralling page-turner, no matter if you sit yourself by a pool, on a beach or on the couch at home. The narrative is foreshadowed by a terrible event unknown to the reader, who is drawn into the gossipy world of an affluent Sydney suburb and the lives of the parents and children attending Pirriwee Public primary school.
Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan
This is third instalment from Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy and follows Nicholas Young as he returns to Singapore to be by his dying grandmother’s bedside. Su Yi is the matriarch of Nick’s family and her passing means everything – from mansions to heirlooms – is potentially up for the taking. Cue relations appearing from all corners of the globe and the requisite dose of family drama. The series is being adapted into a film so keen readers can also pick up the first two novels to be one step ahead of the film hype.
Force of Nature, Jane Harper
Contemporary Fiction, Suspense and Thriller
A three-day hike sees five women bound for the bush but only four of the group make it out on the other side. This is the mystery in Jane Harper’s Force of Nature, a follow up to her award-winning 2016 novel The Dry. Australian Federal Police agent Aaron Falk makes his return in Force of Nature as the woman that goes missing happens to be one of his informants. The story flips between Falk's investigation and recounts of what happened on the hike.
Enchantress of Numbers, Jennifer Chiaverni
Jennifer Chiaverni delves into the life of poet Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter, Ada Lovelace, in Enchantress of Numbers. The focus of Chiaverni’s research is the relationship between mother and daughter, as Ada’s struggles to appease her mother (concerned that her daughter would be struck with the same apparent moral corruption as her father) and her own ambitions. Ada was a talented mathematician and is considered as one of the world’s first computer programmers.
Mrs Osmond, John Banville
One for lovers of classic literature, this is John Banville’s self-appointed sequel to Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady. Mrs Osmond picks up where James left off and Banville begins by acknowledging that Isabel Archer’s marriage to Gilbert Osmond was a mistake. Banville emulates James’ style beautifully, creating a narrative that follows Isabel’s travels and leaving the reader to wonder if they should have ever felt sympathy for her misstep in the first place.
Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld
Contemporary Fiction, Romance
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that modern retellings of the classics can be a hard web to spin. That isn’t so for Curtis Sittenfeld, who, in Eligible, paints Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with a decidedly contemporary brush. Gone are the country balls and bonnets; in its place, reality TV shows and women happily unmarried even though they are nearing (gasp!) 40 years old.
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
If you have ever found yourself to-ing and fro-ing courtesy of an epic email thread with a work colleague, Attachments from Rainbow Rowell will likely hit a familiar note. Beth and Jennifer are two best friends working in the same newsroom, spending most of their workday exchanging emails about everything and anything. Lincoln also works for the company, in Internet security, and he is the one reading their emails at night. Exploring the nature of human curiosity and the possibility of falling in love with someone without having met them; Attachments is a read that will have you turning pages as fast as you can.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Manson
Self Help and Personal Development
There is nothing subtle about this book’s title, or the message it delivers. Mark Manson offers a brutal reality check with unwavering honesty; limit time spent on mindless distractions, and minimise concern over things that contribute little or no purpose to your life. This book doesn’t seek to inspire its reader to achieve greatness and success, but rather it encourages you to take stock of your life and to stop giving a f**k about things that don’t matter.
The Power, Naomi Alderman
Loved watching The Handmaid’s Tale last year? Naomi Alderman’s dystopian The Power is reminiscent of the Margaret Atwood classic. In fact, Atwood is one of Alderman’s mentors. The premise of The Power is simple: women and girls discover they are able to generate powerful electrical charges through an organ on their collarbones. This discovery flips social status quo on its head; women are now stronger than men and a gender revolution ensues. A world run by women isn’t presented as utopia however, and rather than positioning it as paradise Alderman depicts The Power as a historical narrative.
Life of Brine - A Surfer's Journey, Phil Jarratt
A memoir about the life of a surfer seems the natural companion to a beach day. Life of Brine - A Surfer's Journey is from Phil Jarrat, an Australian surfing journalist who wrote his autobiography after suffering a heart attack in Bali. The book chronicles his start in Australian surfing culture, his encounters with Hunter S Thompson, Jack Johnson and Kelly Slater, and the time he spent partying in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
And for those that would prefer to listen to their books...
If turning pages isn't your preferred way to consume a book, download some audiobooks to kick back with. Try Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece, authored and narrated by Stephen Fry; Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz and read by Samantha Bond and Allan Corduner; The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill and read by Julia Whelan; and La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman and narrated by Michael Sheen.