Whether you’re a life-long bookworm or you’ve never quite gotten into reading, now is the perfect time to fall in love with books. As it's our 10th birthday we asked for your favourite read right now and you didn't disappoint. From crime and romance to non fiction wonders and heartbreaking reads, there's something for everyone in this list.
The ultimate way to escape reality and travel through time periods and continents, put these epic books to the top of your reading list.
Seeing Other People
By Diana Reid
If there's one book we've been waiting for all year, it's Diana Reid's Seeing Other People. It's been just over a year since Reid's debut novel, Love & Virtue, hit shelves and rocked the literary boat so strap yourselves in for your summer reading essential. After two years of lockdowns, Eleanor has just broken up with her boyfriend and Charlie’s career as an actress is starting up again. They’re finally ready to pursue their dreams—relationships, career, family—if only they can work out what it is they really want. When principles and desires clash, Eleanor and Charlie are forced to ask: where is the line between self-love and selfishness? In all their confusion, mistakes will be made and lies will be told as they reckon with the limits of their own self-awareness. Seeing Other People is the darkly funny story of two very different sisters, and the summer that stretches their relationship almost to breaking point. Buy it here.
The Ninth Life Of A Diamond Miner: A Memoir
By Grace Tame
Yep, the legend that is Grace Tame has written a book and it’s set to hit shelves this September. Titled The Ninth Life of a Diamond Miner, Tame’s memoir is everything you’d expect it to be—sharply intelligent, funny and an essential read with an optimistic vision for our future. She’s also illustrated the cover “using a cheapo $1 ballpoint pen from Woolies”. We already love it. Buy it here.
By Peggy Frew
Meg and Nina have been outshone by their younger sister Amber since childhood. But Amber's life has not gone the way they all thought it would and now the three of them are together for the first time in years, on the road to a remote holiday rental in Far North Queensland, where Meg and Nina plan on helping Amber overcome her addiction. This one will be pretty impossible to put down. Buy it here.
This Devastating Fever
By Sophie Cunningham
This Devastating Fever feels a bit like a blast from the past and in the best way possible. This is Cunningham's first fiction in almost 15 years which, to us, is already a sign that you should run to the bookstore and buy it now. Written from the perspective of Alice, this one takes you back to a time when worse disasters were yet to come. Environmental collapse. The return of fascism. Wars. A sexual reckoning. A plague. Buy it here.
By John Purcell
Alright, this is the comfort read for you when everything else in your life is spiralling—thank us later (especially if you go weak at the knees for any book featuring themes around love and betrayal). In 1962, teens Daisy and Harry meet, it feels so right they promise to love each other forever. However, in 1960s England everything is stacked against them: class, education, expectations—it's a no dice kind of situation. This one feels like Persuasion and A Room With A View. Buy it here.
By Pirooz Jafari
Tishtar runs a small legal practice in Melbourne where he has a new client, Habiba, who wants to bring her orphan nieces to Australia from war-torn Somalia. He is also a migrant, having left the civil unrest in Iran to find a new life in a new country. As Tishtar becomes consumed with Habiba’s tales of war-torn Somalia, his own childhood memories return and he reflects on the time he spent at his grandmother’s house to escape the atrocities that unraveled post the Islamic Revolution. Buy it here.
By Alex Sarkis
Trust us when we say this is the read of the month. In this whip-smart and heartfelt social comedy, 26-year-old Nicole Najim is struggling to find herself after a painful breakup, just when she thought she was going to settle down. Working a dead-end job in the family car dealership and at a loose end, she picks up her camera and returns to the melting pot of Sydney’s West to rediscover her roots. When she catches up with her childhood friend who makes his living in Sydney’s underbelly, their relationship intensifies just as the law starts to close in. Buy it here.
FIFO—Fit In Or F*ck Off!
By Melody Dia
FIFO – Fit In or F**k Off! explores the challenges fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers and their families face, including the disconnect to family and friends, feelings of displacement, isolation, and the ever-present drug culture. The play follows two families, Jono, Mary and Janey, whose lives have been impacted by mining. The book is filled with all the wry humour, turbulent emotions and unflinching truths everyone needs to hear. Buy it here.
Cartwarra Or What?
By Alf Taylor
This novel is a selection of poems and stories from Alf Taylor’s works that span several literary genres, and is representative of an older generation of Blak writers who were survivors of the Stolen Generations. This collection delicately weaves together his past works for a new generation, in which not much has changed. Buy it here.
When Things Are Alive They Hum
By Hannah Bent
There's no question that this award-winning book should be your next read. In When Things Are Alive They Hum, Marlowe and Harper share a bond deeper than most sisters, shaped by the loss of their mum when they were younger. For Harper, her and Marlo are connected by an invisible thread, kind of like 'the hum that connects all things'. For Marlowe, they are bound by her fierce determination to keep Harper, born with a congenital heart disorder, alive. At 25, Marlowe is finally living her own life abroad, pursuing her studies of a rare species of butterfly secure in the knowledge Harper’s happiness is complete, having found love with boyfriend, Louis. But then she receives the devastating call that Harper’s heart is failing. She needs a heart transplant but is denied one by the medical establishment because she is living with a disability. Buy it here.
Yiayia Next Door: Recipes From Yiaia’s Kitchen And The True Story Of One Woman’s Incredible Act Of Kindness
By Daniel And Luke Mancuso
Your favourite Instagram account has just been turned into a tangible book you can hold, hug and squeeze for eternity. By now, you should all know the incredible story behind the famed Instagram account @yiayianextdoor — a truly heartwarming story of how a Greek grandmother next door stepped in and started looking after and passing home-cooked meals over the fence to young Daniel and Luke Mancuso after they tragically lost their beloved mother Teresa to domestic violence. Now, the wholesome trio have banded together to bring you a collection of traditional recipes from Yiayia’s kitchen, and those of yiayia’s from all around Australia, for that matter. You can flick between spanakopita, hearty pastas, mouussaka, baklava and that damn delicious custard-filled galaktoboureko. The best bit? A percentage of the sales of this book will actually be donated to the Australian Children Foundation, a support network for children who have been abused or hurt by family violence. Buy it here.
Cleopatra And Frankenstein
By Coco Mellors
Alrighty people, ome are saying this is the next big read geared for a Netflix adapation (bar Boy Swallows Universe, of course) so let's just say you'll want to hook your literary teeth into this one sooner, rather than later. Told from varying perspectives, Cleopatra And Frankenstein is about all the shock waves caused by one couples impusive marriage. The interwining narratives are oddly relatable too, in their own kind of weird, as Cleo and Frank (who is 20 years Cleo's senior) fall head over heels in love with each other, only to painfull fall out of love some years later. Centred in privelege and New York's elite, thank us later. Buy it here.
The Lost Daughter
By Elena Ferrante
You've watched the Netflix movie from Maggie Gyllenhaal, so now what? Well, good news is The Lost Daughter was a sensation read before it hit the screen, Elana Ferrante being one of Italy's most cherished author's. Leda is devoted to her work as an English teacher and to her two children so when her daughters leave home to be with their father in Canada, Leda decides to take a holiday by the sea, in a small coastal town in southern Italy. But after a few days of calm and quiet, things begin to take a menacing turn. Buy it here.
By Hanya Yanagihara
If you know anything about the book world, you'll be well across the incredible author that is Hanya Yanagirhara. An American novelist, editor and travel writer from Hawaii, Yanagirhara is the incredible brain behind the modern classic—A Little Life, (which we've obviously included further below) a stunning and complex telling spanning three centuries about family and loss through the American experiment.
In Yanagihara's next book, To Paradise, things are set in an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people can live and love whomever they please. The young descendant of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist's damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him - and solve the mystery of her husband's disappearance. it's mega and by god you need to read it, stat. Buy it here.
The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
Compared to the wonders of Harry Potter, the book follows the intriguing Le Cirque des Rêves which magically appears in Victorian London one day, drawing attention for its black and white striped tent and odd operating hours—sunset to sunrise only. But behind the bright lights, the story really centres around two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been pitted against each other since birth. But despite the competition and everything that is at stake, the two fall in love and suddenly everything—including which magician will be left standing— hangs dangerously in the balance. Read it here.
Where The Crawdad’s Sing
By Delia Owens
Where The Crawdad’s Sing follows Kya Clark, a loner who lives on the outskirts of a sleepy fishing village in America in the early 1920s. Abandoned by her parents and dubbed ‘Marsh Girl’ by the kids in town, she lives a life of solitude, catching mussels for dinner and counting the wildlife as her friends. But when she’s accused of murdering the most popular guy in town, her private life is thrown open for all to scrutinise and she must prove her innocence. A mix of crime, drama and romance, read this beauty here.
A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara
A critically acclaimed bestseller, put A Little Life on your must read list. The novel follows the lives of four best mates from a small Massachusetts college who move to New York to chase their dreams. There’s kind, handsome Willem, who longs to make it big as an actor; JB, a quick-witted painter; Malcolm, a frustrated architect who comes from a wealthy family and enigmatic Jude, a lawyer who suffers from health issues and hidden trauma. Over the course of the novel, the foursome grow up together, encountering many struggles such as abuse, addiction, love and loss. . Read it here.
A Fine Balance
By Rohinton Mistry
Set in India in 1975, A Fine Balance tells the stories of four people from varied backgrounds who are thrown together when a chain of circumstances sees them seeking shelter in one small flat. Stubbornly independent Dina, takes in Maneck, the college-aged son of a childhood friend. She also reluctantly gives shelter to Ishvar and his nephew Om, two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village. Throughout the chapters you’ll learn their back stories—which are at times harrowing—and what has led them to this tiny flat. Read it here.
Such A Fun Age
By Kiley Reid
The debut novel from Kiley Reid tells the story of two women: 25-year-old Emira Tucker, a young black woman juggling her university studies and her boss, 33-year-old former New York writer turned mummy blogger in the burbs Alix Chamberlain. Despite babysitting Alix’s two-year-old daughter Briar for over a year, Emira and Alix have never really bonded. That is until one night, when a grocery store manager accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, setting off a chain of events that no one could have predicted. Read it here.
The Road Trip
By Beth O'Leary
If smart, thoughtful, romantic dramas are your vibe (aka the perfect weekend read) then look no further than this novel from Beth O'Leary. The Road Trip follows Addie who along with her sister, embarks on a road trip to a wedding in Scotland. But everything is derailed when they get into a car accident… with Addie's ex, Dylan, who she's avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier. Dylan and his mate are heading to the wedding too, and they've totaled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets… what could go wrong? Read it here.
By Gary Brun
It tells the story of Paul Greene whose life is torn apart when his daughter Vanessa is killed in a terrorist attack in Paris. In an effort to feel closer to her, Paul packs up his life in Australia and moves to France. Consumed by his grief his days begin to bleed together, a mess of drunken afternoons by the sea. But when a surprise email from his daughter’s mysterious friend arrives, everything changes. With plans to restore a villa over the summer in the memory of his daughter, the pair grow close—eventually falling in love before falling apart. Read it here.
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life
By Emily Nagoski
Come As You Are uses groundbreaking science and research to prove that the most important factor in creating and sustaining a sex life filled with confidence and joy is not what the parts are or how they’re organised but how you feel about them. Which means that stress, mood, trust, and body image are not peripheral factors in a woman’s sexual wellbeing; they are central to it. Divulging new information and research on mindfulness, desire, and pleasure, Nagoski has crafted a revolutionary book. Read it here.
The Last Thing He Told Me
By Laura Dave
This one follows Hannah, whose new husband Owen mysteriously disappears, leaving her a note that simply says: "protect her". Hannah knows who Owen needs her to protect—his moody 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. But when Hannah’s calls to Owen go unanswered, his boss is arrested for fraud and the police start questioning her, she realises that her husband isn't who he said he was and Bailey could be the key to figuring it all out. Grab a copy here.
By Dervla McTiernan
Set in Galway, Ireland, The Ruin follows Detective Inspector Cormac Reilly who is investigating the apparent suicide of a young man in town. As he digs deeper into the case, Reilly begins to suspect not everything is as it seems, and soon draws a shocking connection to an unsolved murder he worked on 20 years prior. It seems the further he investigates, the more troubling information he finds—including some foul play within the police force. With no one to trust but himself, Reilly stops at nothing to solve the case. Read it here.
Image Credit: Lesly Juarez (unsplash)
Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.