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Best New Books To Read In Winter

Best New Books To Read In Winter

Now is the perfect time to get cosy with a good book. From poignant love stories and family sagas to contemporary takes on historic fiction, these new release reads are by a line-up of brilliant Australian and international authors.


Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

According to just about every rom-com ever made, gorgeous women will inevitably fall for average guys. This is how the book begins: TV comedy writer Sally (who’s given up on finding love) discovers her male co-worker is dating a beautiful actress and flips the cliché on its head by creating a comedy sketch in which handsome pop star Noah falls for a less-attractive woman. Then, in true rom-com style, a spark ignites between Sally and Noah.

August Blue by Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy returns with a post-Covid novel about a woman searching for herself across Europe. Elsa M. Anderson is a piano virtuoso and former prodigy who, at the height of her career, melts down mid-performance. While on the run from her identity and past, Elsa encounters a woman she believes is her double at a flea market. A game of chase between them ensures, and as Elsa’s mind unravels, so too does the story of her adoptive father and teacher.

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

Most readers will know Margaret Atwood as the author of The Handmaid’s Tale, but she also has a gift for writing short fiction. Old Babes in the Wood is a glorious collection of short stories that explore love, loss, marriage and mortality with heart and a great sense of humour. Her imagination and knack for science fiction are also on full display — there’s a story about aliens, a post-apocalyptic world and a make-believe interview with a famous dead author.

The Guest by Emma Cline

Twenty-something Alex finds herself adrift on Long Island after the much older, wealthier man she’s been staying with unceremoniously asks her to leave. Unwilling to return to her trail of debt and destruction, Alex spends the week manipulating her way through the lives of the island’s well-off residents. Her goal is to keep her head above water until she has the chance to reunite with her older ex-lover at his upcoming party and win him back.

Ghost Girl, Banana by Wiz Wharton

Intergenerational secrets and trauma are explored in this debut novel about the lives of a mother and daughter, set 30 years apart. In the 1960s, Sook-Yin is forced to leave Hong Kong for London. Her life and marriage are fraught with misfortune, though the relationship produces two children. In 1997, during the handover of Hong Kong, Sook-Yin’s youngest daughter Lily travels to her late mother’s homeland to claim a mysterious inheritance and in doing so confronts her mother’s past.

Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah

Readers in search of catharsis will find it in this poignant debut novel. Described as heartbreaking and unflinching, Rootless paints a portrait of a couple whose marriage is thrown into crisis by an unplanned pregnancy, testing the limits of their love and forcing them to reckon with how different their desires and outlooks have become. Krystle Zara Appiah brings humanity to every page and every character, and examines the complexities of parenthood through a British-Ghanian perspective.

The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan

There’s something fascinating about watching a couple who shouldn’t be together plan to walk down the aisle. This will-they-won’t-they wedding involves an ensemble of characters whose ideas of happiness have been shaped by complicated attachment styles and societal expectations. Celine the bride buries herself in playing the piano while Luke, the groom, hasn’t quite mastered monogamy. The bridesmaid, Celine’s sister, can’t get her act together and the best man, Luke’s ex-boyfriend, still hasn’t moved on.

Exquisite Corpse by Marija Peričić

Melbourne-based writer Marija Peričić breathes life into the true story of Carl Tanzler, a German radiographer who in the 1930s became obsessed with a tuberculosis patient and lived with her corpse long after she had died. In this gothic romance, Tanzler is reimagined as the eccentric Dr Carl Dance, and the novel takes a contemporary approach by giving voice to the women around him — the dead girl, her sister, and Carl’s wife.


Further Reading

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