I read a lot. I always have. I truly believe that if anybody doesn’t like reading, it’s because they haven’t found ‘their thing’.
While I have strong opinions about some books, sometimes I read a book because I need it to be like flipping through a magazine – I want my brain to switch off and I want a happy ending.
But when I read a great book, I recommend it to everybody. And if you don’t like it – well I feel a little bit sad for you – because it was a REALLY great book. I’ve read enough to know.
As part of a challenge I set myself for 2020, I decided to record all the books I read this year. And then with all that’s happening – people started asking for recommendations.
So here we are – it’s not a celebrity book club, but I can assure you I have read every single one. Where possible #supportlocal when you buy books, but if you’re buying online in Australia, use the Booktopia link provided to #supportAustralian and in a small way, me.
Where The Crawdads Sing
The official blurb reads “Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.”
This book is one of the most lyrically superior books that I have ever read. Ever. If you don’t love it, I am afraid there is simply no hope for you.
Boy Swallows Universe
It’s the story of a boy, brotherhood, true love and the random nature of good friendships. This book blew my mind the first time I read it, and the second… and I rarely read a book twice so quickly but I was worried I’d missed some of its excellence.
This Will Only Hurt A Little
If you ever wanted to see behind the scenes of the (insta) rich and famous, this candid and insightful autobiography is for you. Plus she’s Michelle Williams BFF and we all love Michelle.
This book is about love and parenthood and relationships and marriage and friendships and it’s happy and it’s sad and it’s beautiful and it’s ugly and it’s all of the things that make you feel.
You should read it.
The Daughter's Tale
The whole time I read this book I thought to myself, I hope I am never in a situation where I have to make choices like these. You will cry when you read this book. It is a raw testament to families based on a true story of a Nazi massacre in a French village in 1944.
Being Black 'N Chicken, & Chips
If you’d told me that a book about a boy’s mother dying of cancer and his dysfunctional relationship with dad could be funny as well as sad I would have thought you were nuts. But Matt Okine does it. A superb book.
The Best Kind Of Beautiful
I adored this book. Sweet but gritty. Clever yet familiar. Great big characters in a small, artfully detailed world. Read it for sure.
Working Class Man
I am always fascinated about the ‘person’ behind the ‘persona’ and this doesn’t disappoint. A remarkably self aware, and thankfully unapologetic, telling of his story.
An ode to the great era of mixtape, young love and also to the complexities that come with being an an adult in love. Make sure you’re near your Spotify playlist because you will need to start making your own mixtape as you read this.
The Loudness Of Unsaid Things
This book is an ode to those that don’t fit into the definition of ‘normal’. It’s heartbreaking and aspirational. It’s the kind of book with characters you never truly leave behind
The Trouble With Choices
This was recommended to me by the lady at the airport. It’s a light, inoffensive read about three sisters, love, etc and comes with a happy ending.
Just An Ordinary Family
You know just by the title it is not just an ordinary family. But it is. Without a doubt you will work out some of the plot twists but the others just whack you in the face and remind you that suspenseful novels are not good for your equilibrium. Worth a read indeedy.
Welcome to Country
When physical distancing ceases to be a thing and we can go on road trips, this book is going to be my bible. I didn’t even know what we were missing until I was given this book for my birthday. So much to see and do! A really great book about indigenous culture and exploring indigenous Australia.
This is awkward, exquisite, humbling and empowering all at the same time. It reads as stranger than fiction so often, but it’s a bonafide memoir of a woman I would one day love to meet in real life.
Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies
If you don’t like Kitty Flanagan this isn’t the book for you. It’s like having a great natter with her at the pub where she’s delightfully herself but lets drop a few crackers which makes you feel like your BFFs. I literally laughed out loud in places.
This book is impossible to put down so don’t start it late. Also, if this doesn’t make the majority of us feel so incredibly f**king grateful for the safe lives we lead well I don’t know what will!
This is a great book and an annoying book all at once – the characters inability to get out of their own way in this untradtional loves story is what makes it so powerful in the end. BUT if you haven’t shouted at them at least once you’re a better person than me.
Don't You Forget About Me
An easy read – it’s funny, it’s warm and it’s a reminder that not all is as it seems. Mhairi writes with enough sass to make you laugh, and enough gravitas to keep you focussed.
We Were Never Friends
This is a book about friendship, families and creativity. It is also about the murky morals that muddy both suburban lives and those considered famous. It beautifully written, discomfiting and fascinating.
Girl, Woman, Other
I’ll be honest, I didn’t find this an easy read in the beginning. Partly because in one way the book is made up of 12 short stories and I don’t really love short stories. Partly, because the styling of the book is different. That difference however is essential to the telling of the stories of the 12 women that are brought to life in this book. It covers of the diverse experiences of 12 different people – mostly women, mostly black – across different times. Oh just read it. You won’t regret it.
“The whole point of travel is to learn there’s no such thing as normal.” A story of an old man and a young boy with the most tenacious of links and a whole lot of baggage between them. It’s an interesting exploration of aging, family bonds and a random side of travel and history.
It’s ALMOST a classic whodunnit. And I can’t say anything else or I’ll ruin it for sure.