Your Essential Summer Reading List

November 22, 2018

What are your plans for the summer break? We hope you've got reading on that list, and if not, why not? Especially when there's some incredible new titles instore now. Check out some of these below and start planning your summer. 

Sweet Fruit, Sour Land
Rebecca Lety

When a wealthy client visits Mathilde's dressmaking shop, she finds herself drawn into the only surviving circle of luxury left in a barren London. Attending parties offers a welcome escape from life governed by ration cards and a strictly enforced child policy. Here she meets enigmatic government minister, George, and piano-playing Jaminder, with whom an intense friendship blossoms. As their relationship grows stronger, George's grip on Mathilde tightens, as she tries to discover where the illicit food is coming from, where women disappear to, and what price she must pay to avoid bringing a child into a cruel, ever-changing world. In a post- Brexit and #MeToo world the timeliness of this  novel makes it all the more poignant. Shortlisted for The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize, it is essential reading for our times. 

Milkman
Anna Burns

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.the well deserved winner of the 2018 Booker Prize, this  original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique work is a must read. 

Bridge of Clay 
Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay is the first book from Markus Zusak since he took the world by storm with The Book Thief.His new novel has to be the most highly anticipated return to publication in recent times. And, it's been well worth the wait. But don't expect something in the vein of The Book Thief - in his latest work, Zusak has created something completely original. Bridge of Clay is a big, bold Australian family saga in the tradition of Bryce Courtenay, or Colleen McCullough. This breathtaking story follows five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

Transcription
Kate Atkinson

In 1940,  18 year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence. 
Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of the best writers of our time.

Melmoth
Sarah Perry

For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters—and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . 

Unsheltered
Barbara Kingsolver

The New York Times bestselling author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, and The Poisonwood Bible and recipient of numerous literary awards—including the National Humanities Medal, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Orange Prize—returns with a timely novel that interweaves past and present to explore the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval. Brilliantly executed and compulsively listenable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred—whether family or friends—and in the strength of the human spirit.

Songwoman
Ilka Tampre

A thrilling historical novel and the sequel to the critically acclaimed Skin, perfect for fans of Outlander and Game of Thrones. All about one woman’s quest to defend her culture. Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army.Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war king, but as the bond between them deepens, she realises the terrible role she must play to save the soul of her country. Set in Iron-Age Britain, Songwoman is a powerful exploration of the ties between people and their land and what happens when they are broken.

Two Old Men Dying
Tom Keneally

In perhaps his boldest and most personal novel, Tom Keneally explores the journeys of modern Australians alongside the imagined story of ancient Learned Man whose remains were discovered in Western NSW decades ago. Learned Man is the child of humankind as we know it; of those who are thought to have travelled from the Rift Valley in Africa and to ancient Australia. Shelby Apple is an acclaimed documentary-maker. After making films about Learned Man’s discovery, in Vietnam and back home in the Northern Territory, Shelby turns his sights on Eritrea. He thinks this embattled society might represent a new cognitive leap, one that will reconcile our tenderness and our savagery, our reason and our emotions. Shelby sees the world through the lens of his camera; Learned Man through the lens of his responsibility under law. Both men are well aware that their landscape comes to them from elders and ancestors. They are each willing to die and, in a sense, kill for their secret crafts. Two Old Men Dying is an exquisite exploration of community and country, love and mortality.