It’s the start of another week and the weather is meant to be glorious. To help you keep the holiday vibes going we are sharing the best summer reads on the blog later this week. Be sure to check it out.
This warm, wise, highly entertaining twenty-first century love story is about what happens when the person who makes you happiest is someone you never expected. Just Like You is the perfect summer read.
Happy New Year! We wish you all a year of health and happiness full of great friends, great fun and great books.
The sun is shining and the beach is beckoning us to enjoy the warm Australian summer. While 2020 was a year like no other, some of us are now able to head out (safely) and enjoy the outdoors. Summer has always been the perfect time to catch up on some reading, whether it’s book recommendations we have received from friends throughout the year, the lure of a new release in a bookstore or a bookclub read we are behind on. If you’re anything like us, Summer sees us fly through books at a record pace so instead of carrying around a pile of physical books this summer how about you load up an e-reader with your entire reading list? We’re heading off on a road trip and with the dog in the back so space will be limited making it an e-reader library for us this summer.
Here are our top picks:
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Vivid, visceral, utterly compelling, American Dirt is the first novel to explore the experience of attempting to illegally cross the US-Mexico border. Described as ‘A Grapes of Wrath for our times’ it is a story that will leave you utterly changed. Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop. Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist. Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world. Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left. For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg. For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train. For him, she will find the strength to keep running.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Who said old age has to be dull? In a peaceful retirement village off the A21 in Kent, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings. But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be octogenarians, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late? A page-turning murder mystery in the tradition of Christie, and a joyful, laugh-out-loud celebration of modern Britishness and the power of friendship, The Thursday Murder Club is a true classic in the making.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be … dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Amanda and Clay head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday, a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But with a late-night knock on the door, the spell is broken. Ruth and G. H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden power outage has swept the city, and with nowhere else to turn they have come to the country in search of shelter. But with the TV and internet down, and no phone service, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple and vice versa? What has happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another? An impossibly compelling literary thriller about the world we live in now, Rumaan Alam’s novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped in moments of crisis and how the most terrifying situations are never far from reality.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama
This is a whopper of a book and you’ll be happy to buy it as an ebook rather than a hardback! This is a riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy. Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency. Obama takes us on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings us inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorises Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective, the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organiser tested on the world stage.
The Handbag of Happiness by Alannah Hill
The Handbag of Happiness (and other misunderstandings, misdemeanours and misadventures) is a collection of rollicking, defiant, punked-up real-life stories where life-changing moments are found in the absurd, and self-improvement is inconvenient and unpleasant. From The Bathing Costume of Calamity to The Apron Strings of Lament and The Brassiere of Lovelessness, Alannah Hill shares hard-won wisdom from a career in the fashion world, and tells us, in her own imperfect way, how she overcame adversity and sometimes didn’t, despite her best intentions. A breath of fresh air in a world full of self-improvement courses, wellness retreats and oppressive rules, Alannah flouts convention. She’s irreverent, ironic and self-deprecating. She’s upbeat and fearlessly frank. She says out loud what other women are thinking. She flirts with trouble and finds the black humour in modern-day chaos and, in doing so, lets readers see that being a bit wrong can sometimes be right.
With just one sleep to go until Christmas it is absolutely fine to feel a tad panicked if you have yet to start your Christmas shopping. Thankfully Team Booko has rustled up a knock-out last minute Christmas shopping list that will make you look like you had planned gifts long ago along with a few ways of ensuring their gift arrives before Christmas lunch.
Audio books, e-books and vouchers can all be sent immediately so if you fancy opting for the fastest gifts then you can just alter the version of the book by clicking on the little blue edition button below the title. Here’s a handy little pic for you where we have circled the other editions available.
If the idea of choosing is all too much, or the recipient is slightly tricky to buy for, then a gift voucher is a fabulous option. Click through here for our guide to gift vouchers – they also make lovely gifts for those hosting the festive meal (especially when you send them on Boxing Day as a Thank You).
These are our top picks that are sure to delight this Christmas.
The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley
Discover what truly happens behind the scenes in the world of high fashion in this detailed, storied memoir from fashion icon and former Vogue creative director André Leon Talley. During André Leon Talley’s first magazine job assisting Andy Warhol at Interview, a fateful meeting with Karl Lagerfeld began a decade’s long friendship with the enigmatic, often caustic designer. Propelled into the upper echelons by his knowledge and adoration of fashion, Talley moved to Paris as bureau chief of John Fairchild’s Women’s Wear Daily, befriending fashion’s most important designers. But as Talley made friends, he also made enemies. A racially tinged encounter with a member of the house of Yves Saint Laurent sent him back to New York and into the offices of Vogue under Grace Mirabella. There, he developed an unlikely but intimate friendship with Anna Wintour, and as she rose to the top of Vogue’s masthead, Talley became the most influential man in fashion. The Chiffon Trenches is a candid look at the who’s who of the last fifty years of fashion, and proof that fact is always devilishly more fascinating than fiction. André Leon Talley’s engaging and detailed memoir is his story of surviving and thriving in the notoriously cutthroat fashion industry amidst racism, homophobia, other challenges to become one of the most legendary voices and faces in fashion journalism.
The Kinfolk Garden by John Burns
Since the launch of its magazine in 2011, Kinfolk has grown into an internationally recognised brand known for its minimalist aesthetic and strong community of inspiring and influential creatives. Kinfolk have applied this lens to cooking, home design, and work. Now, in The Kinfolk Garden, the team turns its eye to outdoor spaces and the many ways they enhance our lives and help us foster community. With a focus on spaces that bring the outdoors in and the indoors out and people who have found ways to expertly incorporate the natural world into their lives, the book explores the garden as a place for work, play, entertaining, and inspiration. Featuring 30 homeowners and their spaces in locations around the globe, The Kinfolk Garden offers an easy approach to bringing nature home.
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone
From celebrated design expert and interior designer Athena Calderone, a look into how creatives decorate their spaces. Beautiful design isn’t just pleasant to look at; it improves the quality of our lives. In Live Beautiful, the highly anticipated design book by Athena Calderone, the EyeSwoon creator taps into her international network of interior decorators, fashion designers, and tastemakers to reveal how carefully crafted interiors come together. She also opens the doors to two of her own residences. With each homeowner, Calderone explores the initial spark of inspiration that incited their design journey. She then breaks down the details of the rooms-like layered textures and patterns, collected pieces, and customised vignettes, and offers helpful tips on how to bring these elevated elements into your own space. Filled with gorgeous photography by Nicole Franzen, Live Beautiful is both a showpiece of exquisite design and a guide to creating a home that’s thoughtfully put together.
Make Life Beautiful by Syd and Shea McGee
Who doesn’t want to live a beautiful life? For the one million-plus followers who turn to Syd and Shea McGee for advice on building a beautiful home and life, Make Life Beautiful is a behind-the-scenes look into how the couple transformed Shea’s small room of fabric samples and big dream of becoming a designer into one of the most successful and fastest-growing interior design businesses in America. Both long-time and new fans will not only gain insight into how the McGees built such a successful company but also be inspired to apply design principles to their lives. Inspirational topics to help readers build an authentic life include, renovate your life, visualise the outcome, listen to your gut and elevate the everyday. It’s a wonderfully friendly read packed with helpful information for the budding designer.
The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin
Buying a gift for someone who is house-proud? Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin are back again to bring both function and beauty to your everyday life. In The Home Edit Life they show you how to contain the chaos when it comes to absolutely everything: your work, travel, kids, pets and more. Because the truth is, you don’t have to live like a minimalist to feel happy and calm. The Home Edit mentality is all about embracing your life, whether you’re a busy person, a jetsetter – or both! You simply need to know how to set up a system that works for you so you’ll maintain it for the long run. Get to know your organising style, learn how to tailor it to your habits and, best of all, leave the guilt behind when it comes to owning things.
The Naked House by Mollie Player
This one is for the minimalists you know. The solution is almost always fewer things. That’s the Naked House philosophy in a nutshell, though the importance of top-notch organisation (“a place for everything and everything in its place”), design unity, cleanliness and quality round out this book’s description of the most desirable, peaceful home in which to live. With a tongue-in-cheek, personal style, The Naked House is an inspiring but not-too-serious primer on cleaning, organising and reducing clutter-and on changing the way you view the purpose and soul of your home.
Enjoy and we wish you all a very safe holiday season!
Real Life is a gut punch of a novel, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and buried histories and at what cost.
A Room Made of Leaves is the internationally acclaimed author Kate Grenville’s first novel in almost a decade. It’s historical fiction turned inside out.
Cook, Eat, Repeat is a delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella’s engaging prose.
There’s nothing that feels more festive than when your home is filled with the smell of gingerbread baking. What’s your favourite Christmas dish to make?
With only two weeks left to get onto the ‘nice list’ we thought we’d give you a little hand. Surely the way to Santa’s heart is through food right? This week on the blog we are spotlighting Jamie Oliver – the King of Christmas cooking.