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Summer reading list 2023

Summer reading list 2023

There's something extraordinary about the way a book has the power to transport us to different worlds, stir our imaginations, and leave a mark on our souls. As avid readers, we understand the profound impact a captivating story can have on our lives. Here, we present a curated selection of our cherished paperbacks—each a literary gem that has left us forever changed. These are the books that have lingered in our thoughts, sparked our emotions, and stayed with us long after the final page was turned.

We invite you to dive into this collection, hoping that these stories will weave their magic on you, as they did for us. May this summer be filled with the joy of discovering new worlds, gaining fresh perspectives, and experiencing the transformative power of a good book. Happy reading!

 

Image credit: @faerienight

 

You Be Mother, Meg Mason
What do you do when you stumble upon the ideal family, one that seems tailor-made for you but isn't yours? This humorous and compelling novel delves into the complexities of families, friendships, and the little white lies that weave through our lives. Abi's deepest desire was a picture-perfect family. When she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant by an Australian exchange student in the heart of London, the prospect of creating her own family in Sydney becomes an irresistible calling. Eager to embark on this new chapter, Abi hastily leaves behind her old life in Croydon, only to realize upon arrival that Stu, the Australian father, might not be as ready for fatherhood as she had assumed. Stranded in the scorching, dazzling, and bewildering city, Abi grapples with the challenges of making friends in a place where connections prove more elusive than expected. Enter Phyllida, her opulent, charismatic, and slightly imperious older neighbour. A bond forms between them, approaching the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship. However, a minuscule untruth spoken on the very first day they met threatens to unravel the fabric of their connection, leaving Abi to navigate the consequences of that teeny tiny white lie.
 
Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, Christie Tate
Christie Tate, recently awarded top student in her law school class and conquering her battle with an eating disorder, found herself driving through the streets of Chicago, haunted by morbid thoughts of her own demise. Despite her accomplishments, the persistent shadows of isolation and sadness lingered, begging the question of why. In this vulnerable moment, she encounters Dr. Rosen, a therapist offering a transformative promise – the remedy lies within his psychotherapy groups. All Christie has to do is show up and be brutally honest about every facet of her life, from eating habits to childhood and sexual history. Skeptical and convinced of her own incurable defectiveness, Christie hesitates. However, Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that changes the trajectory of her life: "You don’t need a cure, you need a witness." An engaging read, with Christie as our reluctant guide, skeptical of her own capacity for intimacy yet hopeful against her better judgment. We are granted a front-row seat to the audacious, exhilarating, painful, and humorous journey of group therapy – an exploration into the uncharted territory that breaks you down only to rebuild you, ensuring that every piece finally falls into place.

 

The Good Sister, Sally Hepworth
Fern Castle works at her local library, where she finds solace in the quietude of books. Her routine involves sharing dinner with her twin sister, Rose, three nights a week, and navigating life with a meticulous avoidance of crowds, bright lights, and loud noises. Fern's existence is intricately structured, and any disruption to her routine is not just an inconvenience—it's perilous. However, when Rose reveals her heartbreaking struggle with infertility, Fern sees an opportunity to reciprocate the countless times Rose has supported her. The solution seems straightforward: Fern will bear a child for Rose. The only missing piece is finding a suitable father. Easy, right? As Fern embarks on this unconventional mission, the very foundations of the carefully constructed life she leads begin to tremble. Dark secrets from the past resurface, challenging the secrets families keep hidden. In this unconventional, layered, startling narrative, Fern's journey unfolds, revealing the intricate web of relationships and the hidden facets of familial ties.

  

B.F.F: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found, Christie Tate
In this poignant, humorous, and emotionally gratifying memoir, Christie Tate unravels her lifelong struggle to nurture female friendships, a journey that takes a transformative turn with the entrance of an extraordinary friend. After enduring more than a decade of fruitless dates and dysfunctional relationships, Christie finally reclaims her voice and settles into what she believes is a stable, committed connection. The days of grappling with commitment-phobic guys in group therapy sessions are behind her, or so she thought. However, mere weeks after animatedly sharing tales of her new boyfriend in Saturday morning recovery meetings, a friend changes the game. Meredith, always impeccably accessorised and two decades Christie's senior, presents her with a box of holiday-themed scarves and a gentle nudge to examine why friendships have proven challenging. "The work never ends, right?" Meredith teases. Christie soon discovers that the lingering sense of "apartness" from childhood isn't miraculously fading now that she's in a healthy romantic relationship. With Meredith as her confidante, she embarks on a candid exploration of her friendships, past and present. Christie confronts the ways in which shame and jealousy have hindered the enduring bonds she craves and delves into overcoming a history of prematurely letting go.

 

Tom Lake, Ann Patchet
Centered around Peter Duke, who eventually rises to fame as an actor. However, it's not about the celebrity Peter Duke; it's about falling deeply in love with a version of Peter who was not yet in the spotlight. It's a narrative of passionately falling for him, the kind of love that one experiences at the age of twenty-four – an intense leap akin to jumping off a roof at midnight. Little did anyone anticipate the complications that would arise in the end. Set in the spring, Lara, the protagonist, finds herself with her three adult daughters back at the family orchard. Amidst cherry-picking, they implore their mother to share the one story they've always yearned to hear – the tale of the film star with whom Lara once shared a stage and a romance years before. Reflecting on themes of youthful love, married love, and the lives parents led before their children's existence. Balancing hope and elegy, it delves into the essence of finding happiness even when the world seems to crumble around you.
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