Anyone who loves literature like we do, knows how exciting this holiday period is. No, not the frantic gift-buying or pressure to cook the perfect Christmas turkey. Christmas only starts for most of us on Boxing Day, when the kids and husbands are glued to the cricket, our feet are finally up, and the books we’ve previously only glimpsed at get thrown open without abandon. Ahh, the sweet relaxation of summer reading…
We’ve rounded up some of our top picks of the year to make it easier for you to decide which book gets such a coveted time-slot – celebrating our home-grown authors as well as making sure you haven’t missed the new releases that really gave us goosebumps this year.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Yet another inspiring, and thought-provoking read from one of our favourite Australian authors, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies was an easy choice for a Summer Reading list. Set in a little beachside primary school, it’s an absolute page turner as the death of a parent at a School Trivia Night forces mothers, daughters, husbands and ex-wives to learn the consequences of the smallest of white lies.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Remaining an icon of pop culture this year, thanks in part to the power of Ben Affleck’s perfect stubble, if you haven’t actually read the book, this summer is the time to. Flynn draws you so deeply into her web – examining the dark and intricate complexities of Nick Dunne’s marriage to his beautiful wife Amy, yet mixing it with such a poisonous edge of suspense that you end up completely addicted to the characters. Take it to the beach, but beware- this one is truly impossible to put down.
The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns
Released in September 2015, The Patterson Girls is a heart-warming rural romance story of four sisters trying to navigate the complexities of their lives, while still reeling from the loss of their mother, and the discovery of an old family secret. Johns has crafted four different and highly likeable female characters, facing issues relevant to the real-world problems common to women across the world. Funny, sad, but ultimately uplifting, the final pages will have you on the edge of your seat. Johns maintains her signature blend of drama and humour and The Patterson Girls is a delightful read and a perfect summer story.
Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
As if we didn’t already love Michael Robotham’s signature brand of clever, unputdownable thrillers, he has done it all over again with a thriller that ticks all the boxes but is also tender, moving and insightful. The novel is a continuation of the O’Loughlin/Ruiz novels that Robotham fans know and love, but for newcomers Close Your Eyes can be read standalone. As usual, the pace is fast and it’s really hard to get to sleep at night with a Robotham thriller unread by your bed. This one keeps you guessing until the very end with a line-up of suspects that all seem plausible.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Coming in at number #27 in our Top 100 List,as voted by over 5’000 of our readers, The Girl on the Train also made it into our Top 5 Crime Novels. Paula Hawkins first novel, it follows a young woman as her life is changed once she witnesses something shocking from her regular seat on the train. Prepare to be enthralled in a beautifully written, genuinely good read – full of suspense, and with a conclusion that more than lives up to it dramatic build-up. If you’re in need of a good thriller – look no further.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
With Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet you immerse yourself in the characters – love them, hate them, feel that you know them intimately – but by the novel’s close, you know there’s a sequel and you simply can’t wait. Elena Greco (Lena) and Raffaella Cerullo (Lila) are two young children growing up in a rough, poverty-stricken area of Naples in the 1950s. They form an intense bond of friendship that is the background to the four ‘Neapolitan’ novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, followed by The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and the final instalment, The Story of the Lost Child, that takes us to the 1990s. They struggle with love, marriage, adultery, betrayal, jealousy, the violence of their men, and they strive to balance the demands of marriage and parenthood with the pull of intellectual life. They are a beautiful, heart-warming and addictive series of novels that demand your attention this summer.
The Lake House by Kate Morton
A powerhouse of the best seller lists in recent months, the most recent tome from established favourite Kate Morton is The Lake House, a haunting novel following the life the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady who leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. It takes young Sadie Sparrow to stumble upon the abandoned country house, Loeanneth, unravel decades of criminal conspiracy, family secrets and discover the lies Alice has been desperately trying to escape. A fantastic read to fill those lazy summer evenings…
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
Evocative and heartbreaking, The Other Side of the World kept us spellbound. It’s a beautifully told story of motherhood, marriage, creativity, identity, and nostalgia for place. Its vivid and gorgeous descriptions transported us from the wintry fields of Cambridge, to the intense light of a Perth summer and to the mud, dust and chaos of 1960s India. With its deep themes and emotionally charged ending, The Other Side of the World is a book to curl up and spend time with, and book clubs and reading groups will love it.
Like this list? What are you reading over New Year’s this year?
Comment below, or for more of our favourite reads, as voted by our readers earlier this year, check out our TOP 100 Books.