After the shitshow that was 2020, I think it’s safe to say that the world collectively was hoping for a nice, relaxing, precedented 2021. And, um, annoyingly, that wasn’t at all what we got.
This past year was stressful, exhausting, and just.. a lot for most of us. So, now that it’s wrapping up, we’re excited to embrace the break and switch the hell off with some great books. If you’re lucky enough to have squeezed some time off in the next few weeks, here are some beach reads we recommend using to relax and unwind throughout the delightful post-christmas, pre-new-year, i-don’t-know-what-day-it-is period.
Love And Virtue by Diana Reid
This book has been everywhere I look this year. After reading a dozen rave reviews, FOMO got me and I picked it up. And now I’m here to join the (already very loud) chorus of supporters and encourage you to do the same. Set in Sydney, this is a searingly clever debut novel from Diana Reid that follows the lives of two university students, and covers class, sex, and power dynamics. It’s fantastically fast-paced; you’ll fly right through it, and then join the rest of us in shouting its praises.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet
A beautifully-written tale about twin sisters and the vastly different paths they choose over the course of their lives. The Vanishing Half follows Desiree and Stella as they leave the ludicrously small town they grew up in and carve out futures for themselves. If you’re a fan of complex family dramas, reach for this one and try not to put it down. I dare you.
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Set in 1950s Jaipur, 30 year old Lakshimi is an incredibly sought-after Henna Artist whose past is about to catch up with her when the abusive ex-husband she escaped from as a teenager tracks her down. It’s a captivating story about a determined, independent woman, perfect for historical fiction fans.
Love Stories by Trent Dalton
Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe, All The Shimmering Skies) is back with an exceptionally heartfelt and heartwarming new book just when we all desperately need it. Love Stories is exactly what it sounds like: A collection of really brilliant love stories from real people. It’s the perfect antidote to this past year (or two) and a brilliant gift, if you’re in the market.
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s first brilliant book. And just like Normal People in 2020, Conversations With Friends has been adapted into a TV series that will be dropping in 2022, which means now is the perfect time to read it (if you haven’t already) or revisit it. Telling the story of two best friends in their early 20s who befriend a married couple, and the complex relationship that develops between all four of them. It’s less hyped than Normal People but just as un-put-down-able.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ahem, so, this isn’t the first time this has popped up in one of our articles. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest book also got a shoutout on our best lockdown reads list but this one is such a perfect beach read that we couldn’t leave it off this list, either. We’ll keep this one short: Malibu Rising tells the story of the four Riva siblings (a surname you may recognise if you’re familiar with TJR’s other books), their absent rockstar father, and the mother who was left to pick up the pieces. A brilliantly-told story, made for the summertime.