Style's guide to the best summer reads

Style's guide to the best summer reads

Looking for a good read to stick your nose into? From old favourites to new best-sellers just hitting the kindles, here is a short selection us Stylers couldn’t put down.

By Jane Schon | 12th December 2014

I realised this year I don’t read enough books. I mean, I do a lot of reading but it mainly involves scrolling. Luckily the summer holidays are almost here and I can no longer use a lack of time to justify not picking up a good book.

Apart from the obvious choices like The Hunger Games or Game of Thrones, the Style team have made a few suggestions ranging from meaty page-turners to quick, easy reads, perfect for lazy days by the pool. Here are 12 options to pick up that will keep you busy well into the New Year!

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

If you love Lena Dunham’s series, Girls you’ll love her quirky autobiography, Not That Kind of Girl. Told in a series of extremely candid personal essays, working through the struggles of growing up, Lena details the trails of being ten pounds overweight (despite eating healthy), her sex life, the worst pick up lines she’s ever used, and even the worst email she’s ever sent – with footnotes. It’s a window into the weird and wonderful mind of the not-so-typical A-lister and it will make you love her even more.

How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas

If you want to know what it means to be a Parisian woman today, here’s a collection of true stories straight from the fashionista’s mouth - from frank opinions on culture, to how to handle men and navigate the dating world, ignoring fashion, embracing your sexuality and imperfections and aging with grace. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is delivered in short, punchy sections, written by friends Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas, with careers spanning fashion, publishing and film. It is honest - although some of the advice promotes the opposite and must be taken with a grain of salt or two.

The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster

The perfect girlie, easy read for summer, The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster (wife of comedian, Hamish Blake) is all about missteps of the heart - and the awkward situations that can ensue when work, love and friendship intertwine. Lily, a TV producer, decides to take a break from men, but that was before she set eyes on her new co-worker and her show’s new talent, Jack Winters. Needless to say she falls head over heals for him, but finds she’s too late and her best friend, Simone is quicker on her toes when it comes to snapping up handsome men.

#GIRLBOSS, Seven Letters from Paris, It by Alexa Chung

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

If you’ve ever felt directionless (or still do), #GIRLBOSS is a good place to get some inspiration. From dumpster diver to CEO, writer Sophia Amoruso – founder of online shopping boutique, Nasty Gal - shares her journey to success and so much more. It provides some hard truths and a few reminders not to take life too seriously. It reminds the reader that success is in your hands, because you are in the driver’s seat – no one else.

Seven Letters from Paris by Samantha Verant

Another one for those obsessed by Parisian life – and the love stories inspired by that beautiful city. Verant’s Memoir, Seven letters from Paris, is like a modern fairy tale. She looks back on a time where her life was falling apart – which pushes her to travel to Paris on a whim, after finding letters from a handsome Frenchman she fell in love with at 19. Teetering on her 40s - and with nothing to lose anyway - she embarks on a very romantic journey seeking true love again.

It by Alexa Chung

If you love Alexa Chung, her Instagram, her effortlessly cool-girl attitude and her sense of style, you’ll love her new collection of musings, It. I’ve heard it described as the book version of a fashion lover’s Tumbler – which is very accurate. It’s a quick read to say the least, mainly a collection of photographs with witty scribblings and doodles from the stylish globetrotter. But it also offers style advice, like tips for getting dressed in the morning, discusses the art of the ‘selfie’, and reflects on personal early fashion icons – her grandfather being one – and heart break.

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant, Revolution, the book thief

Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant: True Tales and Gossip from the Galley by Owen Beddall (with Libby Harkness)

Sassy and unapologetic – Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant is filled with hilarious, true-life accounts pulled from years of sky-high antics. Sex, drugs and celeb gossip – swapping stories with big names like Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Russell Brand and Cate Blanchett – the hilarious, former ‘trolley dolly’ and new writer, Owen Beddall, dishes all his dirty little secrets in this tell-all book. Perfect for the gossip gals among us, and an easy poolside read for the holidays. A word of warning though; it'll make you want to swap your desk job for the high-flying life of hostie!

Something a little meatier…

Revolution by Russell Brand

You may only know Russell Brand as the lewd former husband of Katy Perry or the risqué joker of Hollywood, but these days Brand has found a much higher purpose for his boundless fame – and is using it for good. If you love his YouTube rants, you’ll love his book. In Revolution, Russell takes apart and hilariously examines the workings of large corporations and governments (and their mouth pieces like Fox News anchors), aiming to highlight corruption and move the world one step closer to achieving equality. You may not agree with everything he says, but it’s a great eye-opener to the world in which we’re told there's nothing we can do - 'it's just the way things are'.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s a New York Times bestseller and has inspired a major motion picture – for good reason. Set in 1939, the Book Thief follows a young foster girl, Liesel Meminger living outside of Munich. It is narrated by death - one of the most interesting features of the book – who describes the setting as a busy time for him. Liesel has a knack for theft and quickly discovers an intense love of books, with the help of her foster father who teaches her to read. She begins stealing from Nazi book burnings and then the major’s library, and shares her stolen literature with others including, neighbours and the young Jewish man hidden in her new family’s basement.

Shantaram, The Memory Keepers Daughter, Gone Girl

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

An oldie but a goodie, Shantaram is one novel you wish had more pages when you are hurriedly flicking to get to the end. It’s about a prison escapee who ends up in Mumbai, India while on the run, and a series of unbelievable adventures ensure. Part crime story, part love story, part personal discovery - you end up empathising with the troubled main character as you delve into a world so foreign to our own. For those who are foreign to India, to see the way the city operates, how people live in the slums, or have no experience in the underworld of this vast city, the author’s ability to make you feel as though you are standing in the middle of it with a 360-degree view is outstanding. As a reader, the journey into a foreign world is as intriguing as the storyline itself.

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keepers Daughter is a moving tale of Dr. David Henry, who is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins one winter’s night in 1964. The first – his son – is born perfectly healthy, however the second child – his daughter – is born with Down’s Syndrome. Deciding to “protect” his wife, he quickly decides to give the child away to an institution. But the nurse trusted with the task instead decides to keep the child and raise her as her own. The story then begins a long progression of their parallel lives, telling a tale of missed opportunities and delving into the meaning of happiness.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you haven’t yet seen the film, pick up the book before the epic twist has been spoiled! Even if you’re already a fan of the film, the book provides much more insight into the layered characters. The narrative follows the lives of Nick and Amy Dunne with their fair share of marital problems. After losing their jobs and then receiving news Nick’s mother has be diagnosed with breast cancer, the couple’s New York City lives are shifted to Nick’s hometown of Missouri – much to Amy’s dislike. Married life only becomes worse from here. Then on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing with Nick pegged as the prime suspect. Evidently, this is where the book really starts to take off with many twists and turns. The book keeps pace jumping from past to present and between different narrators throughout – you are guaranteed to change your opinion of the main characters many times! Also, if you like Gone Girl, check out writer, Gillian Flynn’s other novels – Sharp Objects and Dark Places.

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Article by Jane Schon

Jane is a former Journalist of Style Magazines. She is addicted to theatre, travelling to far off places and developing her personal style (AKA shopping). Jane adores good food (and even better coffee) and is a self-confessed sleep enthusiast.