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6 new books that will get you out of your reading slump

IMAGE VIA @LOUISTHOMAS__/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY MAGENTA PORTER

You won’t be able to put these down.

Ah, yes. It’s that time of the year again, when the days seem to be darker and colder than usual and summer seems like years (or oceans) away. To top it all off, the majority of the country is currently in lockdown again (excellent) so it’s right back to square one. By square one, I mean trackies, WFH, too much chocolate or wine – or both – and a whole lot of spare time. 

It is not our first rodeo here in Australia. Your best lockdown self is probably somewhere far back in April 2020 baking banana bread with an online knitting/cooking/yoga class on in the background. This lockdown, you are allowed to truly indulge in a whole lot of nothing if you really want to. In fact, with no authority at all, I am ordering you to. 


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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – reading, unlike binge-watching the latest episode of Too Hot To Handle, is a form of therapy that can aid in stress reduction, while also entertaining and educating you. It’s a psychologist approved form of mental health self-care, so you never have to feel guilty about losing a day (or five) to a good book. 

To help you truly embrace this forced mid-year break, and take your mind off the chaos that looms outside, I’ve rounded up a list of the best new books by female authors to help you settle in for a long day of reading in bed.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

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I don’t think I have ever been more excited about a new book. Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author behind one of last year’s most addictive lockdown reads, Daisy Jones & The Six, as well as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Malibu Rising is Reid’s latest, highly anticipated novel. The novel is set at an end-of-summer party at the Riva family mansion in California, 1983, that starts as a star-studded affair filled with A-listers, and ends in flames.

The party does not only bring the Riva mansion to its demise, but the entire Riva family will come undone over the course of one alcohol-fueled summer night. This book will instantly fulfil your escapism needs – romance, scandal and just the right amount of extravagance, Reid’s latest novel is the first on my list. 

Get it here.  

Animal by Lisa Taddeo 

 

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This is Lisa Taddeo’s first foray into fiction. The author of the non-fiction bestseller, Three Women, is hitting our shelves again with Animal, a tale of love, violence, sex and survival. After witnessing the public suicide of a former lover, Joan flees New York City, in the search for the one person from her past who will help her figure out where it all went wrong.

Her new life in Los Angeles may be worlds apart from New York, but the traumatic, violent tales of men from lives passed still haunt her. Taddeo’s writing has an addictive quality – it keeps you on the edge of your seat, no matter how dark the subject matter. 

Get it here

Semi-Gloss by Justine Cullen

 

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As ex-editor-in-chief of Elle Australia among other glossy magazines, Justine Cullen has seen a thing or two. The mum of four is very quick to tell the readers of her new book that it is not a memoir, self-help book or the Aussie version of The Devil Wears Prada (kind of). This book is a collection of essays about Cullen’s very fast-paced, action-packed life. It is perhaps the best glimpse into the glamorous (and not so glamorous) side of fashion publishing in Australia.

Cullen covers everything from Paris Fashion Week to growing up as an Asian woman in one of Sydney’s whitest suburbs, to how she got it so wrong, and so right, in love. Whether you grew up dreaming of working for her or not, Cullen’s debut book is inspiring, funny, and unbelievably raw. I was left equally shocked, amazed and excited all at the same time, and I loved every minute of it. 

Get it here

The Success Experiment by Lillian Ahenkan (Flex Mami) 

Flex Mami (aka Lillian Ahenkan) needs no introduction here – we all know and love her equally hilarious, stylish and insightful content that fills our feeds daily, that brings me to tears (of laughter) more times than I am willing to admit. Now, this amazing woman is a published author, and a best-selling one at that.

Ahenkan’s debut book, The Success Experiment, is a formulaic guide to getting what you really want – not what you think is easy or in reach – that can be applied to everyone and every life. This book proves that your potential for success is only as limited as you deem it to be. Flex breaks the narrative, proving that you can do and achieve everything you want. If you’re looking for a bit of life shake-up, look no further. 

Get it here

Who Gets to Be Smart by Bri Lee 

 

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Bri Lee’s latest book, Who Gets to Be Smart, is a forensic deep-dive into privilege, power and knowledge. Lee, the best-selling and award-winning author of Eggshell Skull, begins to question the education system after visiting a friend, a Rhodes Scholar, at Oxford University in 2018. Lee’s investigation into the elite institutions that dictate who is and isn’t allowed through their doors and ultimately, who gets to be educated and who gets to be smart, calls institutional prejudice to account.

Exploring her own privilege and presumptions, Lee uncovers confronting results that shine a light on the education system. This is the book for you if you are craving something a little more challenging that will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about the political and social systems that govern society. 

Get it here.

In My Defence, I Have No Defence by Sinéad Stubbins

 

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If you have ever thought that you could be a slightly better looking, more intelligent, funnier version of yourself if you just knew the right hairdresser, woke up a little earlier and read more high-brow books, then Sinéad Stubbins has written the book for you, because she feels exactly the same. In My Defence, I Have No Defence calls out the impossible standards that we are endlessly trying to live up to.

A deep-dive into Stubbin’s self-proclaimed ‘inability to self-improve’, this book calls out the pressure to constantly be a better, glowed-up version of yourself, in the most humorous, relatable way possible. This could potentially be the most lockdown appropriate book of all time – after all, who can be bothered trying to be better all the time anyway? Surely managing to (somewhat) get dressed at the moment is enough. 

Get it here.

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