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YOUR SUMMER READING LIST, SORTED

Whether read from a beach or your bed, in our opinion, they're the best releases of the season.

31.05.2021

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Whether you’re jetting off on a beach holiday this year or not, a seriously good book is a summer essential. Pack one of these hotly anticipated new releases into your bag and consume liberally under trees, on benches and outside cafés. Wherever you are in the world over the coming months, we’re confident this selection will transport you – as any good book should.

ANIMAL

by Lisa Taddeo

Where would we be without the inescapable genius that is Lisa Taddeo? This June, the author of Three Women brings us her first novel, Animal. Fans of Taddeo’s honest, unflinching tone will love the story of Joan, who watches her partner commit a horrific act of violence and flees New York to find solace and recover. In Animal, Taddeo touches on many of the same themes as TW, including the intricacies of feminine desire and the strength of female rage, while also showing off an excellent knack for page-turning fiction. A truly captivating debut.

Animal by Lida Taddeo will be released on 24th June. Pre-order the book here.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MONEY

by Otegha Uwagba

If you’ve not yet read Little Black Book and Whites, please, stop what you’re doing and get to a bookshop, stat. Otegha Uwagba is a wonderfully deft interrogator of everything from interracial dynamics to how we succeed as working women; her books act as manuals for a modern age. We Need To Talk About Money, out in July, is set to be no different: a blend of memoir and cultural commentary, this unpacks Uwagba’s own relationship with money and explores the topic in a wider way, too, discussing how our finances shape our lives. In short, Uwagba has done it again – another essential read.

We Need To Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba will be released on 8th July. Pre-order the book here.

A SLOW FIRE BURNING

Paula Hawkins

This latest thriller from the doyenne of suburban noir should be number one on your shopping list if you’re looking for a good mystery, simmering with malice. The author of The Girl On The Train and Into The Water has achieved literary alchemy with her latest number, which features all the hallmarks of her last successes: unreliable narrators, unbearable tension and terror in the most banal of places. To read this, we recommend you block out an entire weekend – you won’t want to stop once you’ve started.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins will be released on 31st August. Pre-order the book here.

HARD LIKE WATER

Yan Lianke

Yan Lianke is widely regarded as one of China’s greatest contemporary writers and Hard Like Water, which hits shelves in June, is predicted to become a new future classic. Following the love affair of Ajun and Hongmei during China’s Cultural Revolution, this is a powerful, multi-faceted book that questions everything from marriage to sexual desire, power and the dangers of hubris.

Hard Like Water by Yan Lianke will be released on 3rd June. Pre-order the book here.

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HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY

by Bella Mackie

Podcaster, journalist, author…it seems there’s very little Bella Mackie can’t do. This summer, she’s releasing her third book (and first novel), How To Kill Your Family. When Grace Bernard discovers her absent, millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s plea for help, she calmly sets about doing away with his loved ones – before she’s imprisoned for a murder she hasn’t committed. Wonderfully chilling in the most amusing way, this is Killing Eve-style comedy at its finest.

How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie will be released on 22nd July. Pre-order the book here.

SHOULD WE STAY OR SHOULD WE GO

by Lionel Shriver

It’s pretty obvious that Lionel Shriver doesn’t need an introduction, but the award-winning author of We Need To Talk About Kevin has surpassed even herself with her latest novel, Should We Stay Or Should We Go. The idea sounds thoroughly complicated: a couple, who agree to commit suicide together when they turn 80, have doubts when the time comes; twelve parallel universes follow, each exploring a possible future for the pair, from a hellish retirement home to cryogenic preservation. The result is surprisingly simple: funny and touching, it takes a frank look at ageing – and its unexpected upsides.

Should We Stay Or Should We Go will be released on 10th June. Pre-order the book here.

HARLEM SHUFFLE

by Colson Whitehead

The Pulitzer Prize for fiction is somewhat familiar to Colson Whitehead – he’s won the award not once but twice, for The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. Luckily, we have his next novel to look forward to this September. Whitehead has described Harlem Shuffle as a ‘lively heist’ novel set amid the crime syndicates of 1960s New York that follows Ray Carney, a furniture salesman on the small-time take, who is unwittingly involved in a major heist. A family saga with a healthy dose of crime novel action.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead will be released on 14th September. Pre-order the book here.

THE RIGHT TO SEX

by Amia Srinivasan

There’s one topic on which everyone has an opinion: sex. Are you having it? How much? With whom? What are you into and why? A supposedly private act laden with public and cultural meaning, sex has long been overdue a closer look. Amia Srinivasan provides that and more with The Right To Sex, which leaves no stone unturned in its discussion of consent, the gulf between pleasure and ethics and sex’s relationship to gender, class, race and power. A landmark book that rethinks the entire conversation.

The Right To Sex by Amia Srinivasan will be released on 19th August. Pre-order the book here.

MISFITS

by Michaela Coel

A powerful manifesto on speaking your truth and owning your differences, Misfits – the debut from the BAFTA-winning actor and writer of I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum – is a seminal release this year. Based on her powerful Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture, Coel employs deeply personal anecdotes from her life and career to illustrate her journey to reclaiming her own creativity and power. A call-to-arms for ‘misfits’ everywhere, this is a timely, rousing argument against fitting in.

Misfits by Michaela Coel will be released on 7th September. Pre-order the book here.

BEAUTIFUL WORLD, WHERE ARE YOU

by Sally Rooney

Honestly, is there anyone around anymore who has not read and loved Sally Rooney’s books? Her much-awaited new novel is dropping in September and already, it’s picking up some serious hype. The story is classic Rooney: quiet and everyday, but saying so much about human nature. Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are young but growing up, making friends, getting together and breaking up. Above all, they worry about the world they live in, what it means and what the future holds. Pre-order it now, because this is the book everyone will be talking about this autumn.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney will be released on 7th September. Pre-order the book here.

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE FOR A GIRL

By Paris Lees

Journalist Paris Lees is brilliant at conjuring the early noughties as if they were yesterday with her mentions of green backlit Nokia phones, Bacardi Breezers (remember them?), Nike Air Max and Walkmans. What It Feels Like For A Girl is a coming-of-age memoir packed full of young love, the visceral teenage need to escape the humdrum and the allure of Nottingham’s kinetic underworld. Written in cheerful and chatty Midlands dialect and following Lees’ own early years as a boy called Byron, this is an important account of the British trans experience that is equal parts heart-rending and hilarious.

What It Feels Like For A Girl by Paris Lees was released on 27th May. Order the book here.

ASSEMBLY

by Natasha Brown

Tipped as the debut of the summer, Assembly will be undoubtedly a sell-out. Set over the course of one day, a high-flying Black woman prepares to attend a country party at her boyfriend’s family estate in the English countryside. As she does so, she considers the assembled parts of herself and calculates how much more she can do before she needs to take herself apart. A story about the boxes in which we put ourselves – of race and class, winners and losers – this is a sobering look at identity.

Assembly by Natasha Brown will be released on 3rd June. Pre-order the book here.

THE MAGICIAN

by Colm Tóibín

In The Master, Colm Tóibín, focused on Henry James; here, he explores the life of German writer Thomas Mann, with all the contradiction that entails, from Mann’s hidden sexuality to his ultimate divorce from the country that inspired him. One of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, Tóibín is jaw-droppingly adept at building a whole world around a historical life, that absorbs the reader as much as any invented fiction.

The Magician by Colm Tóibín will be released on 23rd September. Pre-order the book here.

MILLENNIAL LOVE

by Olivia Petter

Based on the Independent’s chart-topping podcast of the same name, Millennial Love is already causing quite the buzz on Instagram. And no wonder: the themes it addresses around modern romance, from dating apps to contraception, read receipts and Love Island, are now almost as universal as love itself. Olivia Petter archly discusses and deconstructs the trials and tribulations of dating today with the help of former podcast guests including Munroe Bergdorf and Elizabeth Day, to brilliant effect.

Millennial Love will be released on 8th July. Pre-order the book here.

PALACE OF THE DROWNED

by Christine Mangan

When it comes to proper escapism, Christine Mangan is the master. Her debut, Tangerine, delved into 1950s Morocco in a swirl of colourful markets and rising heat; Palace Of The Drowned, released in June, transports you to wintery Venice with Frankie, a novelist battling to rediscover the success of her first novel. Set in the 1960s, in the days before and after the flood that altered Venice forever, Frankie’s life is thrown into similar turmoil by the arrival of Gilly, a young woman claiming a connection from back home. A taughtly told, excellently researched and richly described mystery that properly enthrals from the first page.

Palace Of The Drowned by Christine Mangan will be released on 3rd June. Pre-order the book here.

CARELESS

by Kirsty Capes

Benjamin Zephaniah has already described Kirsty Capes’ debut novel, Careless, as ‘literary gold dust’. Teenage Bess, who lives in Shepperton with her foster parents, discovers she’s pregnant in a kebab shop’s loo. The novel follows her as she decides whether she should keep the baby or have an abortion, while charting her relationship with her foster family. Capes, like Bess, grew up in care in Shepperton and the emotional gut-punch Careless delivers is a reminder of how much more attention we need to pay the British care system, both in literature and in life.

Order the book here.

We only recommend things we love, however we might earn a small commission if you choose to buy something.

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