From Australian contemporary romances to change-making artist profiles and rebellious, creativity-inducing memoirs.
Spring is in the air, and with it all the feelings that float in on the sea-breeze — quiet transformation, rejuvenation, love and wanderlust. It’s the season of promise, where summer’s steamy-delights linger on the horizon — days spent by the Rooftop pool, book in hand, Aperol Spritz at your beck and call, the allure of a summer romance, and beachside dalliances. We’re here to help set the (literary) tone. Whether you’re checking into The Old Clare Hotel, or tuning in from near or far, we’ve handpicked a selection of spring-infused reads to inspire your Sydney staycay.
From Australian contemporary romances to change-making artist profiles and rebellious, creativity-inducing memoirs — these are stories to spring-clean your mind and replenish your soul.
Read if you’re: contemplating love and desire
Genre: Didactic Fiction
Year released: 2017
Author: Andre Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name and Find Me.
From the author who mesmerised us with Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman crafts a sun-drenched narrative that’ll have you pining for the carefree days to come. Enigma Variations is a meditation on desire, tracing the life and loves of Paul — a queer maverick – from his first youthful crush in Southern Italy to a fiery romance in New York. Aciman’s prose doesn’t just describe desire but sizzles deep into the palm of your hand with its time-hopping, tense-shifting, globe-trotting manifestation of love’s lifelong shaping of the psyche. The perfect tub read. Cleansing, erotic and bubbling with inevitable self-reflection.
Seeing Other People
Read if you’re: on the hunt for a summer romance or switching up your career agenda.
Year released: 2022
Author: Australia’s Sally Rooney AKA Diana Reid.
A witty, quietly funny and transformative tale of sisterhood, romantic complication and female friendships set in peak summer, against the steamy backdrop of Sydney’s sun-soaked streets. In a nutshell, two very different sisters, by coincidence of time and place, fall in love with the same people — Pandora’s Box opens and young love shows our protagonist what it’s really made of. Reid attempts to grapple with the concept of boundaries — between self-love and selfishness, mistakes and good intentions. An invigorating exploration of the challenges and transformations that accompany the pursuit of dreams, career shifts, and relationship changes, all set against the backdrop of a post-pandemic world, at the dawn of a new season.
Year released: 2021
Author: The one and only: the late musician, artist and activist, Sinead O’Connor.
This intimate memoir by the late iconic singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor takes you on a journey from her meteoric rise to fame to her outspoken stances on global issues. Unapologetic and impossible to ignore, O’Connor’s story is a heartfelt account of growing up, risk-taking, adventure and her undeniable passion for music as a means for self-reflection and political expression. Think of this as not merely an autobiography, but as a catalogue of misbehaviour, rebellion and perseverance — it’s littered with the kind of wisdom we all lean towards on the cusp of a new year. Whether you are or are not a fan, this one’s bound to spring you into action and have all you music musos out there feeling VERY sentimentally inspired.
Funny Weather: Art In An Emergency
Read if you’re: looking for inspiration and reminiscing on the enduring power of art.
Year released: 2020
Author: Olivia Laing, renowned writer and critic, known for “The Lonely City” and this book!
In this exceptional collection of Joan Didion-esque essays, Laing serves up a thought-provoking feast for the soul, making a compelling case as to why art isn’t just a luxury but a lifeline in our *beautifully* chaotic world. As she navigates the endless landscapes of artistic expression, Laing introduces us to the minds and hearts of luminaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, literary giants like Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, and musical legends like David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. Using their stories and creations she explores the intricate dance between art, politics, and human emotion — all at once BIG and inspiring, humble and moving. A quintessential spring read to spark conversation and new ideas — by the pool, by the beach, tucked up post-tub in bed.
Read if you’re: looking for some rom-com style wisdom and a heartfelt giggle
Year released: 2023
Author: Sara Pascoe, bestselling and award-winning comedian, writer and actor. This is her debut novel.
A contemporary Cinderella story of sorts, Weirdo presents itself as a wild, laugh-out-loud ride through the unpredictable maze of love, where embracing embarrassment might just be the secret sauce. Think Bridget Jones meets Flea Bag, starring an oddball heroine, Sophie, who’s determined to find her place in the world whilst constantly stumbling through life’s comedic curveballs. With Essex and Sydney’s own Bondi Beach as the backdrop, we follow a tale of lost love, obsession, and most notably, self-discovery after the fact. Sophie’s hilarious misadventures begin when she impulsively follows her work crush, Chris, all the way to Australia, leaving her in massive debt and boyfriend-less. When Chris unexpectedly walks into the Essex pub where she works, it feels like fate has handed her a second chance, setting the stage for her comically chaotic pursuit of love and redemption.
The common thread? A good book needs a nook, and we have plenty. Get your read on, here.