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Summer Reads: No More Shitty Books on the 8 books they couldn’t put down this year

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

Because who’s got time for bad books this summer?

Like many Fashion Journal readers, I love a good book. I love buying them and stacking them on my bedside table and around my fireplace, but obviously, I gain the most joy from actually reading them.

This year’s been a weird one, and often my brain has felt too scrambled and frazzled to focus on any one book for longer than a hot minute, so I’m looking forward to the summer holidays – that period where you get a few days or weeks of precious, uninterrupted reading time.

With a few vacations lined up and my reading glasses and sunscreen at the ready, I’m on the lookout for book recommendations, but not just any old books. I want the best of the best, the crème de la crème.

And who better to ask than someone who runs an Instagram account literally called No More Shitty Books? Below, they tell me about their favourite reads of the year, and who they’re best suited for gift wise (because let’s face it, books are both the best and easiest Christmas present).

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha 

“‘I would live your life so much better than you, if I had your face'” – one of my favourite lines in a book full of absolute zingers! This book is about complicated female friendships in South Korea and it is filled with K-pop references, extreme plastic surgery and uber-rich people. I found this book completely absorbing! The perfect gift for your best friend or the next pick for your book club.”

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

“Jasmine Guillory writes the perfect romcoms. This modern-day romance about a politician and a lawyer who fall madly in love is fun, funny and sexy. Perfect for your friend who’s already lined you up to watch Love Actually sometime before Christmas.”

To Asia with Love by Hetty McKinnon 

“Hetty cooks the best darn food. Every recipe I have ever made from her is delicious (except for that one time I over-salted the eggplant). Fresh and feisty flavours keep you coming back for more. This is the perfect gift for someone whose quarantine hobby was cooking.”

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid  

“I can assure you that whoever you give this book too will not be able to stop reading, which makes it perfect to read in that weird period between Christmas and New Year when time has no meaning (similar to the whole of 2020 actually). A great gift for whoever needs a book that will keep them totally occupied and completely distracted.”

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig  

“Sweet heavens this book was just what we all need this year. I am calling it ‘therapy fiction’. It is like having an excellent therapy session where you make some real breakthroughs and cry a lot, but you also get the added benefit of being entertained by a really bloody good story. The perfect gift for someone who needs a little reminder of the joy in living.”

Honeybee by Craig Silvey 

“A truly beautiful and heartwarming coming-of-age story that has some of the most unforgettable and vibrant characters I have read in years. This is the first novel in 10 years by Craig Silvey, who wrote the much loved Jasper Jones, so be sure to give this to anyone who loved that book (which was just about everyone).”

Writers and Lovers by Lily King 

“The title of this book tells you a lot. It is about a writer and her lovers. This is a book that loves other books and is full of book lovers, and I love that. More importantly, I found this book very calming. It is not that no bad or sad things happen; rather, it is a very simple examination of a period of the character’s life and I found the simplicity of it delightful. This is the perfect gift for you – treat yourself!”

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart  

“This book is very depressing at times and when I say very I mean VERY. It is also brilliantly written and incredibly moving. I cried all of the tears, but it was very worth it. It’s the perfect gift for the person in your life who reads ALL of the award-winning books. This one just won the Man Booker which is just about the biggest prize a book can win.”

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