It’s Friday and the sun is shining. It’s time to close the laptops, pour yourself something refreshing and head outside to relax. Enjoy the weekend everyone.
Hello Friday evening!After a huge week it is time to sit back, rest, reflect and enjoy the weekend. Fingers crossed you even get time to read a book. See you on Monday.
What does “holiday reading” mean to you? Does the slower pace of summer make you reach for light, breezy reads; or is this the time when you can finally commit to that big, substantial book? I do a bit of both – my Holiday Brain craves cheerful reads, but I always pack a variety just in case. I hope you can find YOUR perfect holiday read from this selection of recent bestsellers:
The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne
When longtime friendly-neighbours Ruby and Angela set off for Adelaide in their campervan, little did they know what’s in store. These Grey Nomads became unwitting kidnappers when they discovered a little stowaway, and they also crossed paths with Angela’s estranged brother Bernard, a C-list celeb with his own troubles. Not only is The Grand Tour a quirky and very Aussie adventure, it is also a story about families – the ones you have and the ones you make. The laughter and heart just draws you in. The Grand Tour is Olivia Wearne’s debut novel, but she has a background in screenwriting and it shows – her descriptions are cinematic, the characters are well-developed, and the dialogue zings.
Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory
If you like holiday reads that sweep you off to a different time and place, then Dark Tides is for you. This atmospheric tale, set in London in the 1670s, is the sequel to Tidelands. We meet again with Alinor, a poor, hardworking woman who now owns a warehouse on the Thames riverbank. On Midsummer Eve, she receives two unexpected visitors, who set off a chain of events amidst the poverty of early Restoration London, the splendour of Venice as well as the wild frontiers of colonial America. Philippa Gregory is best known for her novels about Tudor royalty; her assured writing has translated equally well to this immersive series about a commoner family in a later era.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
All Adults Here is the ironic title of this gentle black comedy about an extended family from upstate New York – think Something’s Gotta Give crossed with The Royal Tenanbaums. The most grownup member of the Strick clan is probably 13-year-old granddaughter Cecelia – her parents, aunts and uncles, and even her grandmother still struggle with insecurity and adulting from time to time. Emma Straub writes affectionately about her cast of flawed characters, creates much humour from their interactions, and grounds their personal challenges in current issues including abortion, bullying, IVF, gender identity and sexual predators.
Because of You by Dawn French
On New Year’s Eve, as a new millenium arrives, two women are in the same hospital, giving birth. Only one of them will bring a baby home. Seventeen years later, the consequences of what happened that night slowly unravel, with surprising and poignant results. Five long years after her last novel, Dawn French has given birth to her latest hit, Because of You. This is a story about mothers and daughters, nature and nurture, mistakes and regret. Dawn French’s wit adds richness and lightness to an emotional and thought-provoking story; the rich characterisation and multiple points-of-view will draw you in and keep you hooked till the last page.
Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos
Another strong literary debut rewarded by bestselling status. Lucky’s is a big, multigenerational family saga about the rise and fall of Lucky Mallios, a Greek-American who settled in postwar Australia, and his eponymous chain of cafes. Sharp, vivid vignettes tell a story that spans almost a century, across several continents; yet this vastness telescopes into a finely interwoven web, where each character’s actions affect others in unforeseen and pernicious ways. Informed by Andrew Pippos’ personal history, the post-war migrant experience, and the iconic Greek-Australian cafe scene, both play important roles in this immersive story.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Richard Osman joins a long list of successful comedians-turned-authors – but he stands out by debuting with a murder mystery. The Thursday Murder Club is a quartet of residents in an upmarket retirement village, who meet weekly to pore over unsolved crimes. This seems a fun but academic pastime – until the day a murder happens close to home. Richard Osman’s clever, deadpan personality, as seen in TV shows such as Taskmaster and QI, also shines through in his writing. He skilfully balances distinctive and recognisable characterisation with a pinch of Miss Marple, a smidge of the Ealing comedies, and balances everything with poignant asides on ageing and the end of life. No wonder that The Thursday Murder Club has become the fastest-selling adult crime debut ever in the UK.
It’s time to share what you are reading. With the summer weather due to step up a notch this week we are looking for ideas for our next read while staycationing in the garden.
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.
It’s Friday afternoon which means it’s time to close the laptop, head outside, slap on some sunblock, grab a book and enjoy the weekend. If only we could be enjoying this view.
2021 is a year that comes with big expectations and even bigger dreams. After the whirlwind year that was 2020 everyone is banking on this year being so much brighter. While the start was a bit rocky here in Australia with new outbreaks of Covid we are still gearing up for a year where we get to take charge and dream big. The motivational and self-help genres are hugely popular and we have chosen a few of our favourites to help you get motivated to hit your 2021 goals.
The Right-brain Workout 2 by Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton
Are you out of ideas? Feel your creativity drying up? Is brain fog taking over your life? Give your right brain a workout with the experts. In just ten weeks, you can reignite your imagination and tap into the creative potential inside you. Following on from the highly successful Right-brain Workout Vol 1, here are seventy more questions posed by some of Australia’s most innovative individuals – creatives from the world of comedy, film, literature, art, photography and advertising – designed to help you to think outside the box to unleash your inner genius. You wanted more, and Russel Howcroft and Alex Wadelton have delivered.
Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
From the author of the bestselling book everyone is talking about, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k. The no-fks-given, no-holds-barred guide to living your best life. Ever find yourself snowed under at the office, or even just glued to the sofa, when you really want to get out (for once), get to the gym (at last), and get started on that daunting dream project you’re always putting off? Then it’s time to get your sh*t together. In The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%*k, ‘anti-guru’ Sarah Knight introduced the joys of mental decluttering. Get Your Sh*t Together takes you one stop further – organising the f*cks you want and need to give to help you quit your day job and move abroad, balance work and fun, and save money while you’re at it, or simply get out of the door for happy hour, every day.
The Now of Work by Lisa Messenger
For more than 19 years Lisa Messenger has had the absolute pleasure of inspiring game-changers, thought-leaders, stylemakers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs across the world. After the crisis of COVID-19 the world was suddenly faced with a new way of working, people felt, and are still feeling overwhelmed and lost. The Now of Work takes you through all the steps needed to be able to thrive in a work from home environment. It covers practical, actionable ways for creating location freedom, as a solopreneur, entrepreneur or intrapreneur. You can see Lisa’s other books here.
Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton
Fearne Cotton’s voice is familiar to millions, whether that’s through television, radio or on her hugely successful Happy Place podcast. Her voice is her career, her livelihood and the way she communicates with her audience and her loved ones. So, when Fearne’s doctor told her she was at risk of needing a throat operation followed by two weeks of being unable to speak, she found herself facing a period of unexpected contemplation. As she considered what silence would mean, Fearne began to think about other times her voice had gone unheard as a young woman, as ‘just the talent’, as the foil to louder, more dominant figures. She found herself wondering, at what point do we internalise this message, and start silencing ourselves? When do we swallow down our authentic words to become pleasers and compromisers at the cost of our own happiness or wellbeing? Speak Your Truth dives into all the ways we learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons, and explores how to find your voice, assert yourself and speak out with confidence. Brave, vulnerable and deeply personal, Speak Your Truth shares Fearne’s compelling story and helps you to shape your own.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell
The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger’s motives? Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings, from history, psychology and infamous legal cases, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times. You can see Malcolm’s other books here.
The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. In this timely guide to mindfulness, Haemin Sunim, a Buddhist monk born in Korea and educated in the United States, offers advice on everything from handling setbacks to dealing with rest and relationships, in a beautiful book combining his teachings with calming full-colour illustrations. Haemin Sunim’s simple messages, which he first wrote when he responded to requests for advice on social media, speak directly to the anxieties that have become part of modern life and remind us of the strength and joy that come from slowing down. Hugely popular in Korea, Haemin Sunim is a Zen meditation teacher whose teachings transcend religion, borders and ages. With insight and compassion drawn from a life full of change, the bestselling monk succeeds at encouraging all of us to notice that when you slow down, the world slows down with you.
The sun is out and the pool is the perfect spot to cool off. Time to head outside, slap on some sunblock, grab a book and enjoy the weekend.
January marks the start of a new year full of promises, fresh resolutions and plans to get things done. It’s also the time of year where we all vouch to become slightly better organised making it the perfect time to get yourself a new diary. Diaries and planners are come in so many shapes, sizes and formats. There are online versions that sit in the cloud and can be accessed from multiple devices, there are paper ones that weigh down you bag, tiny ones that slip into pockets, ones that offer daily motivational snippets and ones made to look pretty on a desk. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites for you.
It’s got 169 numbered pages, a blank table of contents, handy little pocket in the inside cover large enough to store business cards and other treasure. A page marker and elastic band fastener and it’s bright yellow. What more could you want than a notebook screaming of sunshine and bright times ahead?
Leuchtturm may be a brand that we can’t pronounce but it’s one you’ll find yourself being loyal to. Founded more than 100 years ago, Leuchtturm1917 is a cult icon amongst lovers of fine stationery. With a classic air of simplicity and unmistakable attention to detail on show in their range of notebooks and diaries, Leuchtturm1917’s time-tested designs continue to be the standard by which others are measured.
Begin the new year with this hugely popular weekly 12-month planner which covers the entire year, from January to December 2021, with a page dedicated to every day of the week for a complete view. The Moleskine Weekly Planner allows you to have a complete view of the entire week on the left, while on the right it includes a ruled page for notes just like the classic notebook.
These planners include a special insert of 295 coloured stickers to personalise your weekly planner: 1 sheet of alphabet stickers and 2 sheets of icon stickers.
Born in 1997, Moleskine has brought back the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries, such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Based in Milan, Moleskine brings the timeless quality of classic notebook design to a vast family of paper objects, bags, books, travel and writing tools.
This one goes out to all the #plannerlife fanatics. The stationery experts at Pipsticks+Workman know the pure joy (not to mention organisational prowess) that comes from personalising a planner with stickers. So. Many. Planner Stickers. is a collection of 2,600 stickers, bursting with energy and colour, that are specially made for use in a planner to flag appointments and notes, track goals, spruce up any occasion or just trade with your besties. There are 50 sheets with 52 tiny, friendly stickers on each one: chic glasses to mark book club meetings, trendy sneakers for gym days, cute tote bags for travel weekends, and helpful, simple reminders.
#makechichappen: Your 52 Week Social Media Game Plan by Katy Ursta
If you have a small business or a side hustle and are looking to grow your social media presence this year then this planner may be what you need. #makechichappen is a 52-week social media game plan by Melanie Mitro and Katy Ursta of Chic Influencer will help the busy entrepreneur stay organised, craft a niche specific message, and create a comeback audience.
The planner will help you simplify your social strategy and clarify your specific marketing messages. It also offers an Income Producing Activity Tracker, Time Blocking Tracker, Resources, Content starters, Weekly planning, Reflection, and Brainstorming activities.
Encounters Day Planner 2021 by Paulo Coelho
World-renowned author Paulo Coelho has inspired millions with bestselling classics like The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Manuscript Found in Accra, Adultery, The Spy and most recently, Hippie. Now, with this 2021 day planner, the same wisdom that draws readers to his books time and time again can serve as a source of daily inspiration year round. Available in English and Spanish, Encounters (Encuentros) features moving and revealing quotes by internationally beloved author Paulo Coelho. More than your average planner, readers can begin each day with a word of wisdom, receive spiritual food-for-thought as they navigate through their everyday lives, and have Coelho be their guide as they plan and embark on their own travels and personal journeys.
Sad Animal Facts Weekly Planner 2021 by Brooke Barker
Kinda sad – but oh, so funny. This is a quirky and engaging weekly planner based on the Instagram phenomenon @SadAnimalFacts that became a New York Times bestselling book. From writer and illustrator Brooke Barker, Sad Animal Facts highlights a different animal species, and the unfortunate truths of its existence, every week with a drawing, a fact, and a dryly hilarious thought bubble communicating what the animal may actually be thinking. Studies show that snails prefer eating in groups to eating alone. (All this lettuce and no one to share it with.) A horse can produce a gallon of sweat in an hour. (That saddle was bone dry a minute ago.) The average worker honeybee produces a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey during her life. (Enjoy that toast.) It’s a planner that will tickle the fancies of animal lovers all year long.
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.