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The best summer reads - wrapped

Book girl summer.

If you're on the hunt for your next summer read then look no further. The Poolside team have been reading, reviewing and page turning some of the biggest fiction books of the moment to bring you only the best of the best recommendations.

Whether you're looking to kill time on your next long-haul flight, while away hours working on your tan by the pool or even if like Kendall Jenner is rumoured to (!) just need an aesthetic book as a prop for your next IG drop then we've got the collection for you.

Before the Coffee Gets Old By Toshikazu Kawaguchi ($19.99)

This book placed number 19 in Dymock’s 101 books of 2023 and asks the question - what would you change if you could go back in time, and more importantly who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time? This book focuses on a small unassuming coffee shop in Tokyo which has been there for over 100 years and offers its customers one unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. Kawaguchi introduces us to four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the cafe's time-travelling offer to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband with Alzheimer's, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never knew. But the journey does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, cannot leave the cafe, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
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The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams ($22.99)

Having sold over 1 million copies worldwide you can be assured this is a good book. Born into a world of words Esme spends her childhood with her father and a team of lexicographers collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women's experiences go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. This novel reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It's a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.
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Yellowface by Rebecca Kuang ($16)

If you haven’t heard of this book where have you been? The No. 1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, Amazon’s Book of the Year and Foyle’s fiction book of the year Yellowface follows the story of June Hayward, a literary nobody who is friends with Athena Liu, a literary darling. But when June witnesses Athena die in a freak accident, she realises this is her chance to find fame - even if that means stealing her friends work. It’s an amazing story but it’s just not June’s to tell. Gripping, full of twists and turns and incredible moments, you won’t be able to put this down.
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Good Material by Dolly Alderton ($18)

From the woman who brought us Everything I Know About Love, Good Material is Dolly Alderton’s highly anticipated second novel. Her protagonist is 35-year-old Andy, the stand-up comedian who has just been dumped by the only woman he’s ever really loved. As he tries to solve the unsolvable mystery of his broken relationship, he contends with career catastrophe, social media paranoia, a rapidly dwindling friendship group and the growing suspicion that, at 35, he should have figured this all out by now. Andy has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend's side of the story. This is a warm, wise, achingly relatable and laugh out loud funny exploration of the stories and mysteries that pull and push us apart.
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Lola In The Mirror by Trent Dalton ($16)

Bighearted, gritty, magical and moving, Lola in the Mirror is the new novel from bestselling author, Trent Dalton. A girl and her mother have been on the run for sixteen years, from the monster they left in their kitchen with a knife in his throat. They're home is a van parked in a scrapyard by the edge of the Brisbane River. The girl has no name because names are dangerous when you're on the run. There's only one person who can help make her dreams come true. That person is Lola and she carries all the answers. To find Lola, the girl with no name must first do one of the hardest things we can ever do. She must look in the mirror. A big, moving, blackly funny, violent, heartbreaking and beautiful novel of love, fate, life and death and all the things we see when we look in the mirror: all our past, all our present, and all our possible futures.
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Green Dot by Madeleine Gray ($32.99)

Hera Stephen is clawing through her mid-twenties kicking around Sydney with her two best friends. Instead of money or stability, she has accrued one ex-girlfriend, several hundred hangovers, and a novel collection. Then she meets Arthur, an older, married colleague. Intoxicated by the promise of ordinary happiness he represents, Hera falls headlong into a workplace romance that everyone, including her, knows is doomed to fail.
Green Dot is witty, profound and painfully relatable in its exploration of solitude, desire, and the allure of chasing something that promises nothing. It is a must-read for fans of Meg Mason, Sally Rooney and Dolly Alderton.
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Cleopatra And Frankenstein by Coco Mellors ($22.99)

New York is slipping from Cleo’s grasp. She's at a different party every other night, but she barely knows anyone. Her student visa is running out, and she doesn’t even have money for cigarettes. But then she meets Frank. Twenty years older, Frank's life is full of all the success and excess that Cleo's lacks. He offers her the chance to be happy, the freedom to paint, and the opportunity to apply for a green card. Cleo and Frank run head-first into a romance that neither of them can quite keep up with. Ultimately, this chance meeting between two strangers outside of a New Year’s Eve party changes everything, for better or worse. Cleopatra and Frankenstein is an astounding and painfully relatable debut novel about the spontaneous decisions that shape our entire lives and those imperfect relationships born of unexpectedly perfect evenings.
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The Fraud by Zadie Smith ($28.50)

Best known for her perceptive and detailed takes on contemporary London, Zadie Smith is back but this time with her first ever historical book. Kilburn, 1873. The 'Tichborne Trial' has captivated Scottish housekeeper Mrs Eliza Touchet and all of England. Readers are at odds over whether the defendant is who he claims to be - or an imposter. Mrs Touchet is sceptical, she suspects England of being a land of facades, where nothing is quite what it seems. Andrew Bogle meanwhile finds himself the star witness, his future depending on telling the right story. Growing up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica, he knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realise. Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about how in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what's true can prove a complicated task.
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