If you often find yourself scrolling Instagram when you should be reading, chances are you’ve stumbled upon Bookety Book Books — an online, indie bookshop curated by bibliophile Mandy Myles. It’s hard to leave the online bookstore without filling your cart, as Myles has done an exceptional job of choosing titles that challenge and inspire readers. To kick-start a summer of fabulous reading, Myles has hand-picked her favourite page-turners for FQ.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
New Zealand expat Meg Mason’s second novel is one of those books that you’ll struggle to put down. It’s compulsive reading at its absolute best. For fans of Fleabag and author Sally Rooney, this engrossing new novel follows Martha, who knows something is wrong with her, but she doesn’t know what it is yet. Her husband brushes her off and tells her to keep going. By the time she figures out what’s wrong, it’s too late to get what she wanted all along. Or maybe you can stop loving someone and start again if you take the time to figure out what you want. Sorrow and Bliss explores themes of mental health and self-sabotage. It’s real, honest, and captivating. Get ready to laugh and cry.
The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon
The remains of the eldest Chamberlain child are found in 2010 alongside a tally stick — an ancient method of marking debt. But what does this all mean? Written by New Zealander Carl Nixon in his signature masterful brilliance that only seems to grow with each novel, this book will have you gripped from the opening paragraph. For fans of Top of the Lake, The Tally Stick will provide the same entrancing atmosphere of the beautiful New Zealand landscape while bringing home the horrors it can bring.
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Exciting Times is the story of Ava — a 22-year-old Irish ex-pat living in Hong Kong — and the love triangle she finds herself in with Julian, an English banker in his late 20s, and Edith, a 22-year-old lawyer and Hong Kong local. This book takes us inside the mind of Ava and the constant moral turmoil she encounters along the way. This novel discusses privilege, class, politics, sexuality, and identity. Naoise Dolan is here to fill the Sally Rooney–shaped void in our lives right now, with a brilliant play on the complexities of modern relationships and all the different forms these can take. It is the perfect summer read and will leave you mulling the characters over for some time.
The Vanishing by Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett’s second novel, The Vanishing Half, is just as strong as her acclaimed debut, The Mothers. Twin sisters Desiree and Stella run away from their small southern American town at the age of 15, only to find themselves on opposite paths. However, their fates continue to intertwine with their daughters. This emotional story weaves together multiple generations across the 1950s to the 1990s. It’s a brilliant exploration of American history and the desire to live as something other than your origins.
How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? by Pandora Sykes
This is the perfect summer non-fiction read to dip in and out of. Every essay reads like a long-format magazine article, so you can pick and choose what to read at your leisure and in between other books on your to-be-read pile. Pandora Sykes is one half of The High Low podcast, and this is her debut non-fiction book. It’s composed of eight essays in which Sykes dives into millennial trends, such as wellness, fashion, social media, work, digital communication, and media binging, all while considering the ways in which these impact women and asking the question, “How do we know we’re doing it right?”
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