The books to devour these holidays

Endless summer days call for a long list of page-turning books.

Escape with these beach reads.Credit:Stocksy

Fiction

When Things Are Alive They Hum by Hannah Bent (Ultimo Press)
At once uplifting and heartbreaking, this is a story about the special bond between two sisters. Marlowe is finishing her PhD in London when she gets the call to return home to Hong Kong for a family emergency; Harper, who lives with Down syndrome – or “Ups” as she calls it – has a failing heart.

The House Uptown by Melissa Ginsburg (Faber)
This beautifully written novel follows teenager Ava, who is sent to live with her eccentric grandmother, Lane, in New Orleans after her mother dies. Lane, an artist, is preoccupied with
her work as Ava learns to navigate a strange new life with a little help from Lane’s assistant, Oliver.

Magpie by Elizabeth Day (Fourth Estate)
This gripping domestic noir novel tackles the pain and anguish of infertility. Happy couple Marisa and Jake are trying for a baby when they take in a lodger, Kate. Gradually Marisa’s uneasiness about the situation turns to suspicion and despair as the story unfolds in a series of shocking twists and turns.

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The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (Viking)
A poignant and evocative novel about a family and their ramshackle holiday home on Cape Cod. Set over 24 hours, Elle Bishop – married to a man she loves, with children she adores – reflects on her life and past summers at the house as she faces a life-changing decision of the heart.

Love & Virtue by Diana Reid (Ultimo Press)
Reid explores themes of power, privilege and consent in her captivating debut novel that follows two students, Michaela and Eve, living on campus at a Sydney university. The two girls initially forge a close friendship, until the truth about a drunken encounter during orientation week is revealed.

Devotion by Hannah Kent (Picador)
Set in the 1830s, this love story follows teenagers Hanne, an outsider in her conservative village, and kindred spirit Thea, as their Lutheran community flees persecution in Europe and sets out on a dangerous journey to resettle in the new colony of South Australia.

Thrillers

We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz (Michael Joseph)
Best friends Emily and Kirsten are on the trip of a lifetime in Chile when things go awry and they end up with a dead body in their hotel room. The problem is, this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Will it be the last? And who exactly is to blame? This psychological thriller will keep you guessing.

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The Unheard by Nicci French (Simon & Schuster)
Fans of French won’t be disappointed. Single mother Tess Moreau thinks her three-year-old daughter, Poppy, has witnessed something terrible, but no one believes her. When a woman dies and Tess is sure it has something to do with Poppy’s strange behaviour, she risks everything to find the truth.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins (Doubleday)
From the author of The Girl on the Train comes another page turner with twists galore. When a man is found murdered on a houseboat, three women are questioned: Laura, the one-night stand; Miriam, the nosy neighbour; and Carla, the dead man’s grieving aunt. Read it or save the audio book, narrated by Rosamund Pike, for summer road trips.

Non-fiction

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Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci (Fig Tree)
The American actor and gourmand’s memoir charts his love of food from his mother’s table to a devastating cancer diagnosis in 2017 and beyond. Stories and meals from his time as a struggling thespian in New York, a revelatory excursion to Iceland and countless trips to Italy all entertain and delight.

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury)
In this collection of essays, the author muses on everything from marriage and paternal relationships to knitting and children’s books. Deeply personal, funny and wise, the pleasure of reading Patchett is not only in her beautiful prose but in her joy for life.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Picador)
Mourning the death of her mother, musician Zauner, of the band Japanese Breakfast, found herself seeking refuge in the aisles of a Korean supermarket. In this astonishing memoir, she writes about her complex relationship with her mum and the struggle to retain her Korean identity without her.

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