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14 Books You Absolutely HAVE To Read This Summer

Whether you’re a card-carrying bookworm or just want to go back to work and legit be able to say you didn’t just binge on Breaking Bad for the fourth second time over the holidays, this is for you.

We’ve rounded up some of the books we can’t wait to get our eyeballs all over...

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CRAZY RICH ASIANS 

Yep, the movie of the same name that hit our screens in August with an all-star, all-Asian cast, including Constance Wu and Ken Jeong was a book first. And it's hilarious

Kevin Kwan’s best-selling book follows NYU professor Rachel Chu as she travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family – only to find out that they are insanely wealthy. As New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin puts it, “Mr. Kwan knows how to deliver guilty pleasures. He keeps the repartee nicely outrageous, the excess wretched and the details wickedly delectable.”

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ 

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day he comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

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BACK, AFTER THE BREAK 

Osher Gunsberg opens up in a powerful, dark, funny and heart-wrenching memoir about life, love and living with mental illness.

It's hard to remember a time when Osher Gunsberg (or Andrew G as he was then) wasn't on TV - he's just always been there, looking at ease in the spotlight, beaming a big smile, with a questionable haircut. He was there hanging out with The Offspring backstage at the Warped Tour on Channel V; announcing to a national audience of three million people that Guy Sebastian was our first Australian Idol; and later capturing the heart of the nation by hosting every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and now Bachelor in Paradise.

But while everything looks great from the outside, the real picture has not always been quite so rosy. Osher has always known he's different to most other people. Struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and weight issues since he was young, he tried for years to drink away the anxiety and depression. He ended up unemployed, divorced, suicidal and certifiable on the other side of the world, yet somehow he managed to put the broken pieces of his mind back together and make a life for himself again. He lives with a mental illness - and he's come to terms with it to live an authentic, rich and fulfilling life.

A revealing, raw, funny and heartfelt memoir from one of Australia's most well-known and well-liked celebrities.

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WORKING CLASS BOY

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of OzPubRock – there isn’t an accolade or cliché that doesn’t apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and ‘Barnesy’, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. 

Arriving in Australia in the summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family – Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family’s collapse, but also a young boy’s dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock’n’roll band and get out of town for good.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny – Jimmy Barnes’s childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed.

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RAP DAD

A timely reflection on identity in America, exploring the intersection of fatherhood, race, and hip-hop culture.

Just as his music career was taking off, Juan Vidal received life-changing news: he’d soon be a father. Throughout his life, neglectful men were the rule—his own dad struggled with drug addiction and infidelity—a cycle that, inevitably, wrought Vidal with insecurity. At age 26, with only a bare grip on life, what lessons could he possibly offer a kid? Determined to alter the course for his child, Vidal did what he’d always done when confronted with life’s challenges. He turned to the counterculture.

In Rap Dad, the musician-turned-journalist takes a thoughtful and inventive approach to exploring identity and examining how we view fatherhood in a modern context. To root out the source of his fears around parenting, Vidal revisits the flash points of his juvenescence, a feat that transports him back to the drug-fueled streets of 1980s–90s Miami. It’s during those pivotal years that he’s drawn to skateboarding, graffiti, and the music of rebellion: hip-hop. 

An illuminating journey of discovery, Rap Dad is a striking portrait of modern fatherhood that is as much political as it is entertaining, personal as it is representative, and challenging as it is revealing.

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FOOD HACKER

Rosie Mansfield is a food hacker. She's also a professional nutritionist, and has created an innovative and fun recipe book of hacks - simplified recipes to make cooking, quick, easy and stress-free.

These kitchen tricks and shortcuts will inspire you to whip up homemade snacks and meals that will nourish a long and happy life. Every recipe is nutritionally balanced and delicious, and designed to be as straightforward as possible to fit into busy lifestyles.

Recipes have been stripped down to their bare essentials - this is the most basic of food preparation using equipment and ingredients we all know and love. Learn how to whip up cheap, fast and simple weekday meals in a jiffy, like rustling up an omelette in a mug, nachos in a sandwich bag or pad thai in just one pan.

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SHOE DOG: A MEMOIR BY THE CREATOR OF NIKE

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his car, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. 

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. He details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream - along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls how his first band of partners and employees soon became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

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DIRTY JOHN AND OTHER TRUE STORIES OF OUTLAWS AND OUTSIDERS

Since its release in fall 2017, the “Dirty John” podcast—about a conman who terrorises a Southern California family—has been downloaded more than 20 million times.

The story, which also ran as a print series in the Los Angeles Times, wasn’t unfamiliar terrain to its writer, Christopher Goffard. Over two decades at newspapers from Florida to California, Goffard has reported probingly on the shadowy, unseen corners of society. 

“The $40 Lawyer” provides an inside account of a young public defender’s rookie year in the legal trenches. “Framed” offers an unblinking chronicle of suburban mayhem (and is currently being developed by Netflix as a film starring Julia Roberts). A man wrongly imprisoned for rape, train-riding runaways in love, a Syrian mother forced to leave her children in order to save them, a boy who grows up to become a cop as a way of honoring his murdered sister, another boy who struggles with the knowledge that his father is on death row: these stories reveal the complexities of human nature, showing people at both their most courageous and their most flawed.

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BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: THE INSIDE STORY

OK, so this is the official book of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, which you've probs seen. 

The author has interviewed key cast and crew members to reveal how Freddie Mercury and Queen's incredible story was brought to the big screen. Many of Queen's pivotal moments were recreated for the film - including Live Aid and other key performances - and are described and shown in this authorised book of the 2018 movie.

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THE LAND BEFORE AVOCADO 

This new release is a funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be - and just how far we have come.

There's plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like?

In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It's a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing.

It's the Australia of his childhood. The Australia of the late '60s and early '70s.

Let's break the news now: they didn't have avocado.

It's a place of funny clothing and food that was appalling, but amusingly so. It is also the land of staggeringly awful attitudes - often enshrined in law - towards anybody who didn't fit in.

It will make you laugh and cry, feel angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago. Most of all, it will make you realise how far we've come - and how much further we can go.

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FEAR

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.

Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.

Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.

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NEVER GROW UP

Everyone knows Jackie Chan. Whether it’s from Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Karate Kid, or Kung Fu Panda, Jackie is admired by generations of moviegoers for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, and mind-bending stunts. In 2016—after 56 years in the industry, over 200 films, and many broken bones—he received an honorary Academy Award for his lifetime achievement in film. 

In Never Grow Up, the global superstar reflects on his early life, including his childhood years at the China Drama Academy (in which he was enrolled at the age of 6), his big breaks (and setbacks) in Hong Kong and Hollywood, his numerous brushes with death (both on and off film sets), and his life as a husband and father (which has been, admittedly and regrettably, imperfect).

Jackie has never shied away from his mistakes. Since The Young Master in 1980, Jackie’s films have ended with a bloopers reel in which he stumbles over his lines, misses his mark, or crashes to the ground in a stunt gone south. In Never Grow Up, Jackie proves time and time again why he’s beloved the world over: he’s honest, funny, kind, brave beyond reckoning.

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LADIES IN BLACK 

Written by a superb novelist of contemporary manners, Ladies in Black is a fairytale which illuminates the extraordinariness of ordinary lives. The women in black are run off their feet, what with the Christmas rush and the summer sales that follow. But it’s Sydney in the 1950s, and there’s still just enough time left on a hot and frantic day to dream and scheme…

By the time the last marked-down frock has been sold, most of the staff of the Ladies’ Cocktail section at F. G. Goode’s have been launched into slightly different careers. With the lightest touch and the most tender of comic instincts, Madeleine St John conjures a vanished summer of innocence. Ladies in Black is a great novel, a lost Australian classic.

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MODERN BAKING 

Perfect for bakers and those who just like reading cookbooks and have no actual intention of baking anything. 

So, Donna Hay's newest drool-worthy cookbook has more than 250 mouthwatering recipes for cakes, biscuits and a bunch of other sweet treats. Hay is a self-confessed classics girl at heart, but forever adding on-trend twists to her sweet recipes - and this book shares them.

She even refers to this book as her "modern baking bible", featuring her all-time favourite essentials, plus some super-smart shortcuts for when life gets crazy busy. She's also included plenty of better-for-you treats, made with wholesome raw ingredients for, you know, balance.

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