Your summer reading list sorted

The best reads of 2019 to dive into this summer. Plus, why you should consider donating your pre-loved pages to your local charity.


While the craze of watching back-to-back TV episodes on Netflix has been popular of late, you still can’t beat diving into a captivating book. And the best part, whether you’re heading out for a day lounging on the beach, or a lazy afternoon in your local park, you don’t have to worry about charging anything. It’s the perfect grab-and-go entertainer that’ll reduce your screen time – bonus!

But, while most of us love the freedom of letting our imagination run wild in the pages, we’re often stuck on where to look next. Luckily for you, we’ve done some research into the best fiction and nonfiction yarns to hit the shelves this year. 

Boy Swallows Universe by Australian author, Trent Dalton (fiction)

This Australian best-seller has to feature high on the must-read list. The story is a blend of fiction and non-fiction and is based on Dalton’s upbringing. It’s a tale of love, a lost father, a mute brother, a mother in jail, a heroin dealer and a notorious criminal for a babysitter, set in Brisbane’s violent working-class suburbs in 1983. With stellar reviews, multiple awards won, and critics describing it as “extraordinary and beautiful storytelling” and “funny, tender and raw’’, it’s a must-read this summer!

Strangers and Cousins by Leah Hager Cohen (fiction)

This is a funny tale of a quirky family planning a wedding in a dilapidated house. Cohen is a serious comedian. While she pens about unforgettable characters and the hilarious dynamics of a large family, she also perfectly captures how family secrets and events can change lives and reverberate through generations. Critics have praised Cohen’s scribing abilities as “funny and tender but also provocative and wise’’ and “serious yet joyous comedy.”

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (fiction)

Awarded the U.K Booker prize, this is one you won’t be able to put down. The British author tells the tale of 12 people, mostly black British women aged between 19-93, whose lives are somewhat connected. It follows their struggles over the years and how they navigate their families, friends, and lovers. It’s been described as a “love song to modern Britain and black womanhood.”

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (nonfiction) 

A true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland, this book has been ticketed as one of the top 10 books of 2019 by the New York Times and Washington Post. This nonfiction novel is centred around the notorious killing of Jean McConville in 1972. The 38-year-old mother was dragged from her Belfast home as her 10 children clung to her legs. They never saw her again. The murder was committed by the IRA, and Keefe’s gripping book goes on a journey through the brutal conflict of Northern Ireland.

Know My Name by American author Chanel Miller (nonfiction)

This page-turner is a memoir of the author who reveals herself as being “Emily Doe’’ in the high-profile criminal case against Brock Turner in the United States. Miller was attacked by Turner while she lay unconscious outside a fraternity house party before two cyclists intervened. Miller only revealed her identity ahead of publishing Know My Name, a powerful move to reclaim her story. It, too, has been given the nod of approval as one of this year’s must-reads by literary critics around the world. 

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott (nonfiction)

This nonfiction novel was penned by acclaimed essayist and bookseller, and in her latest work she presents a relatable and wise memoir. The bestseller navigates its way through complex feelings when “you have it all” but still don’t feel content. Philpott discusses how when she had completed her life’s to-do list (husband, babies and white picket fence), she felt anxious and dissatisfied, instead of feeling successful and happy. It’s a warming book and one many can relate to.

Kids corner: Dr Seuss’s ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book! By Dr. Seuss

Grandkids visiting during the school holidays? You can’t go past Dr. Seuss for a dose of quality time with a side of rhyme. You could even go one step further and make it a book and breakfast with some green eggs and ham! The little ones will love it and it’s those precious memories that they’ll hold with them for years to come. 

Another fantastic initiative to consider is to round up your pre-loved reads, pop them in a box and take them to your local Op Shop or charity. You could even ask the grandkids to do the same so you can all share in the good spirit of giving. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? We sure think so!