From life lessons to family ties: Here are 10 reads for this summer

Summer reading list

Summer reading list Photo: Getty, TND

If you’re looking for some books to take on your upcoming summer trip or simply have a New Year’s resolution to read more in 2023, we’ve got you covered.

Here are 10 reads to keep you busy this summer.

The Book of Roads and Kingdoms

Richard Fidler

(ABC Books, fiction, $39.99)

The people of Baghdad were fascinated by the world around them and sought to learn and experience more 

They left behind what they knew – journeying by camel, horse and boat to the unknown and returned with wondrous stories filled with adventure. 

A story of travel, culture and philosophy, The Book of Roads and Kingdoms tells the tale of medieval wanderers who travel to the edges of the world during Islam’s fabled Golden Age. 



Ian McEwan

(Vintage Publishing, fiction, $35)

What can we learn from our most painful memories? Just ask Roland Baines.  

Roland was a young boy in boarding school when he attracted the attention of his piano teacher, leading to a short-lived romance that, although not enduring, leaves him with memories that last a lifetime. 

Roland is faced with another heartbreak at the hand of a woman he loves when, twenty-five years later, his wife disappears and Roland is left with a sense of loneliness, a void so deep he spends years trying to fill it with travel, drugs, politics, friendship and love. 

Time passes, and later in his life, Roland is given with the opportunity to confront both these women to find peace.  


Cold Enough for Snow

Jessica Au

(Giramondo Publishing Co, fiction, $24.95)

This novel by Melbourne author Jessica Au explores the relationship between a mother and daughter as they take a trip together to Japan.

Walking through Tokyo, they walk and talk about weather, horoscopes, clothes and objects. But do they really know each other? In their seemingly extensive dialogue, so much is left unsaid. 

Au’s novel shows the delicate nuances of mother-daughter relationships and the allowances we make for the ones we love.  


Faith, Hope and Carnage

Nick Cave, Sean O’Hagan

(Text Publishing Co, non-fiction, $45)

Faith, Hope and Carnage is an extended conversation between multidisciplinary creative Nick Cage and Observer journalist Sean O’Hagan, who have known each other for 30 years. 

Created over 40 hours of conversations, this book explores themes of faith, art, music, freedom, grief and love, allowing readers a glimpse into Cave’s childhood, his work and his transformation over the last few years. 


Salonika Burning

Gail Jones

(Text Publishing Co, fiction, $34.99)

Salonika tells the story of the Greek city now known as Thessaloniki. 

It’s 1917 and Salonika is on fire. Tens of thousands are displaced, and two-thirds of the city is destroyed. 

Surgeons, ambulance drivers, nurses and volunteers from Europe and Australia come to the city’s aid. Among them are the novel’s four protagonists: Olive, Stanley, Grace and Stella. 

Although young and naive, their strength and determination to help those around them, the story of these four characters show that even in the most dire circumstances, there is always a glimmer of hope.


Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing

Matthew Perry

(Hachette Australia, non-fiction, $34.99)

In this raw and candid memoir, Friends star Matthew Perry takes readers behind the scenes of the beloved sitcom and the events that followed. 

Perry opens up about his long battle with addiction, what fuelled it and his struggles while playing the fun-loving, sarcastic Chandler on the most successful sitcom of all time.



Robbie Arnott

(Text Publishing Co, fiction, $32.99)

This coming-of-age novel follows the story of Ned, left at home with his sister and father after his two brothers go to war, news of their wellbeing being few and far between. 

To take his mind off his worries, one summer Ned takes to hunting rabbits and selling their pelts to create the felt used in slouch hats for soldiers, the activity serving as a way to distract himself and make enough money to buy a boat. 

In Ned’s mind, the freedom of being out on the water trumps his current reality. 

The story of Ned unfolds over the years, and we begin to see how the decisions he made that fateful summer impacted the rest of his life.



Inga Simpson

(Hachette Australia, fiction, $32.99)

For batmaker Allan Reader, his bats are all he has left. As he navigates his divorce, his withering relationship with his only child and the possibility that he might lose his home, he finds solace in cricket. 

When Allan meets a young player named Todd Harrow, he is convinced Todd is destined to be one of the greats and gifts Todd a specially crafted willow bat – one he has been saving for the right person. 

As the two men work through life’s inevitable challenges, the one constant in their lives is cricket. 


The Boy and the Dog

Seishu Hase, Alison Watts (trans.)

(Simon & Schuster Ltd, fiction, $32.99)

The relationship between a boy and his dog – and a love story for the ages. 

After an earthquake and tsunami shake Japan, a young man finds a stray dog with a tag that says ‘Tamon’. Although the dog’s name indicates he came from the north, the young man decides to keep Tamon with him.  

The Boy and the Dog tells the story of how destiny brings Tamon to the six homes he lives in over five years. In each of those homes, Tamon is an unexpected but much-needed gift to those who welcome him into their lives.


The Passenger

Cormac McCarthy

(Pan Macmillan, fiction, $45)

While on assignment, salvage diver Bobby Western comes across a passenger jet in the dark waters around New Orleans. 

Underwater, all passengers are dead except for one who is missing. As Bobby investigates further, he discovers that the aircraft’s black box is also missing. 

The Passenger follows Bobby’s attempt to solve this mystery. At the same time, he deals with the ghost of his father and his complicated relationship with his sister. 

Topics: Books
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