Gardening, romance and sport: TND’s top 10 summer reads

Looking to get lost in a good book while relaxing on the beach? We've got you covered.

Looking to get lost in a good book while relaxing on the beach? We've got you covered. Photo: TND/Getty

New year, new you – unless the old you loved reading, in which case, don’t change a thing.

The New Daily has put together a list of summer reading recommendations, from new releases to what bookshops told us Australians have been stocking up on recently.

Whether you’re still on holiday, you’re taking advantage of the extra hours of sun to read outside in the evening, or you just need an escape from daily life, read on to get inspiration for your ‘to be read’ pile.

From tips on how to grow your own fruit and veg in any Australian climate to young adult queer romance, there’s probably a book for just about everyone.

Naomi Osaka

Ben Rothenberg

(Text Publishing/$36.99)

Now is the perfect time to read up on all things Naomi Osaka, with the tennis player set to compete in the 2024 Australian Open as part of her big return to the sport after giving birth.

Her headline-making 2018 US Open win against tennis great Serena Williams drew the world’s eyes to the Haitian-American-Japanese Osaka.

She’s since proved to be far from a one-hit wonder, winning three more grand slams and becoming one of the highest-paid female players in the world, all while being vocal on issues such as mental health.

As a sports writer, Rothenberg has covered Osaka since she emerged onto the WTA Tour in 2014; in this biography, he charts her incredible impact on tennis and social justice in sports, predicting where she’ll go next.

Release date: January 9

The Lucky Country: Amazing Australian tales of pure dumb luck

Eamon Evans
(Affirm Press/$32.99)

The happy accident that created wi-fi. The well-placed piece of coral that saved the Endeavour from sinking. The stroke of luck that made Hugh Jackman Wolverine.

Australia may be known as ‘the lucky country’, but just how accurate is that description? Turns out, very.

From the Gold Rush to Steven Bradbury, our history is full of times when lady luck made a spectacular appearance.

Now, Melbourne-based writer Evans dives deep to deliver the most hilarious, fascinating tales of the Australians who were almost too lucky to be believed.

Prophet Song

Paul Lynch

(Oneworld Publication/$13.36)

Last year’s winner of the prestigious Booker Prize is flying off shelves, with multiple bookshops telling The New Daily has been one of their bestsellers over the past few weeks.

On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother of four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police, there to interrogate her husband, a trade unionist.

Ireland is falling apart. The country is in the grip of a government turning towards tyranny and when her husband disappears, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a society that is quickly unravelling.

How far will she go to save her family? And what – or who – is she willing to leave behind?

The Bee Sting

Paul Murray

(Penguin General UK/$22.99)

Shortlisted for last year’s Booker Prize, The Bee Sting delves into family, fortune, and the struggle to be a good person when the world is falling apart.

The Barnes family is in trouble; Dickie’s once-lucrative car dealership is going under, and while his wife is frantically selling off her jewellery on eBay, he’s busy building an apocalypse-proof bunker in the woods.

Meanwhile their teenage daughter is veering off the rails in thrall to a toxic friendship, and her little brother is falling into the black hole of the internet.

The present is in crisis, but the causes lie deep in the past.

How long can this unhappy family wait before they have to face the truth? And if the story has already been written, is there still time to find a happy ending?

Question 7

Richard Flanagan

(Knopf Australia/$35)

Beginning at a love hotel by Japan’s Inland Sea and ending by a river in Tasmania, Question 7 is about the choices we make about love and the chain reaction that follows.

By way of HG Wells’ and Rebecca West’s affair through 1930s nuclear physics to Flanagan’s father working as a slave labourer near Hiroshima when the atom bomb is dropped, this daisy chain of events reaches fission when Flanagan as a young man finds himself trapped in a rapid on a wild river not knowing if he is to live or to die.

At once a love song to the award-winning Tasmanian author’s island home and to his parents, this blend of dream, history, place and memory is about how our lives so often arise out of the stories of others and the stories we invent about ourselves.

The In-Between

Christos Tsiolkas

(Allen & Unwin/$32.99)

The award-winning Australian author behind bestselling-book-turned-TV-series The Slap presents a compelling contemporary love story between two middle-aged men, told with grace, heart and wisdom.

In this novel, which was selected as one of the Best Australian Fiction titles for 2023 by Readings Books, the men meet on an internet date.

Each has been scarred by a previous relationship; each has his own reasons for giving up on the idea of finding love.

But still they both turn up for the dinner, feel the spark and the possibility of something more. Feel the fear of failing again, of being hurt and humiliated and further annihilated by love.

How can they take the risk of falling in love again? How can they not?

Heartstopper Volume 5

Alice Oseman

(Hachette Australia/$24.99)

The fifth addition to the international bestselling series – and basis of a popular Netflix show – brings readers back into the story of English schoolboys Nick and Charlie, along with their diverse and loyal gang of friends.

Nick and Charlie are very much in love.

They’ve finally said those three little words, and Charlie has almost persuaded his mum to let him sleep over at Nick’s house … But with Nick going off to university next year, is everything about to change?

From first love to discussions of mental health and eating disorders, Heartstopper encompasses all the small moments of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger which speaks to all of us.

Iron Flame

Rebecca Yarros

(Hachette Australia/$32.99)

Copies of the much-anticipated sequel to Fourth Wing are still being snapped up from bookshops by Australians more than month since its release in November.

Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College, Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky.

Now the real training begins, and Violet’s already wondering how she’ll get through. It’s not just that it’s gruelling and maliciously brutal, or even that it’s designed to stretch the riders’ capacity for pain beyond endurance.

It’s the new vice commandant, who’s made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is – unless she betrays the man she loves.

Good Life Growing

Hannah Moloney

(Affirm Press/$39.99)

The new year is a great time to pick up new habits; growing your own food could be a good one to pick up if you’re looking to spend some more time outside and cut down on your grocery bill.

From Gardening Australia presenter Moloney, Good Life Growing provides the inspiration and know-how to grow your own fruit and veg in any Australian climate.

This bountiful guide is packed with practical solutions for all conditions and every gardener.

Whether you’re getting started with a pot or developing a plot, you’ll find everything you need to hone your skills, fire your imagination and have good, fresh food all year round.

RecipeTin Eats Cookbook: Dinner

Nagi Maehashi

(Macmillan Australia/$44.99)

Maehashi, the Sydney-based woman behind the wildly popular food blog RecipeTin Eats, saw her debut cookbook win multiple awards last year, including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year 2023.

The food blogger and writer’s recipes – which have helped draw in 1.2 million Instagram followers so far – are varied, but never too fantastical for the dining table at home.

From comfort food to special treats, this cookbook features 150 dinner recipes that each have a photo and how-to video accessible through a QR code.

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