It’s the season of extended beach days, rosé on tap and plenty of lounging around, book in hand. Discover your summer reading (and listening) list, reviewed by the WILD editors.

Reviews by Chloë Beckley, Charlie Hale & Georgia Nelson


Following her ground-breaking debut Three Women, Lisa Taddeo has done it again with this daring, tragic, mess of a masterpiece. I can honestly say I was gripped from page one and looked forward to bedtime each night (well, all six that it took me to get through this book) to devour more. Animal opens with Joan, the narrator, confessing to the reader her recent and historic trauma that has left her “depraved”. She subsequently sets out on a cross-country trip from New York to Los Angeles, where she meets the intoxicating River and decrepit yet lewd Leonard to track down the mysterious Alice. The two men prove to be decisive factors in Joan’s story as she comes to terms with her trauma and ultimately takes fate into her own hands. She’s an antiheroine like you’ve never seen before, and I was torn between loving and loathing her from the outset. Much like in Three Women, Taddeo unapologetically explores the reality of womanhood, zeroing in on sexual violence, trauma and motherhood. Ultimately, Animal teaches us not to be driven by the desires of men, but rather to dictate our own lives and stories on our own terms. GN

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home
From the outside, aged care homes often seem daunting and dreary. But The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home defies all preconceived ideas about ageing and life within the walls of a nursing home. When independent introvert Hattie Bloom (it’s Miss Bloom, not Mrs) finds herself banished to Woodlands after a fall, she quickly begins concocting an escape plan — but she needs an accomplice. Fellow “inmate” Walter Clements seems too rash and not to mention stubborn at first, but the two form an unlikely bond after meeting at The Night Owls, an after-hours group pioneered by Sister Bronwyn. After one midnight meetup goes a little awry, Sister Bronwyn is dismissed, so Hattie and Walter hatch a plan to get her job back and make a getaway for themselves in the process. This novel explores very real issues of ageing and loss of independence, and is packed cover-to-cover with laughs, tears and heart-warming moments — the perfect read for all ages. GN

If you’re looking for a beach read, Ghosts is your answer. It’s a witty work of fiction that hits almost too close to home. In the modern world of dating, you’ve probably ghosted or been ghosted by someone. And Alderton really captures the feeling of dating in your 20s and 30s: adrenaline rushes, heartache, cruelty, silver linings and all. Ghosts follows Nina Dean, a London-based food writer who is a little too relatable, in the first year of her 30s. She’s grappling with millennial angst as her friends settle down with their husbands and babies, and the ticking of her biological clock becomes louder and louder. And then her ex gets engaged; cue the perfectly timed entrance of Max, a seemingly perfect gentleman who announces that he will marry her at the end of their first date. There are laugh-out-loud and exasperated sigh moments aplenty, and maybe a few life lessons hidden among the highs and lows too. GN

Asking For It
Although everyday harassment faced by more than half the population is at the forefront of the media, the opposite side think catcalling and kerb-crawling are just an unfortunate and unwanted “normal”. Sadly, the most common response still remains to be “they were asking for it”, which is victim blaming at its finest. In her latest book, Asking For It, author Louise O’Neill tackles the issue of victim blaming and sexual consent in the technological age as well as the shame and self-questioning that often follows sexual harassment. Asking For It needs to be read by all. The book is a powerful piece of fiction, yet for many women it retells their truths. If there is one book you should read to put yourself in the shoes of a victim, make it this one. CB

Cross My Heart
Prepare to have your heart warmed, broken and put back together again by the end of Cross My Heart. Author Pamela Cook has a way of perfectly capturing the beauty, devastation and healing that comes with love. Drawing you in from the very first line, she grabs a hold of your heart and doesn’t let it go until the very last word. What starts as a forgotten promise to a long-lost friend uncovers dark secrets and life-changing turns that will make or break the novel’s main character, Tess. It’s rural fiction with a city twist, with an explosive climax that is more relevant than ever to today’s society. Cross My Heart is a beautifully harrowing telling of modern life, encapsulating the gruesome reality of gendered violence as well as the power of redemption. GN


Looking to live a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle in 2022? Futuresteading will show you how. This book will teach you how to live, eat and garden with the seasons and offer reimagined routines and rituals that give back to the planet. Miles leaves no eco-stone unturned, providing plenty of tips, tricks and recipes that will have you living sustainably in no time. Think propagating your own veggies, essential medicinal herbs and flowers to have in your garden, plant-based recipes, clothes swaps, summer activities and plenty of DIY household supplies. The best part? You don’t have to live on a farm or even have a backyard. Futuresteading will teach you how to make the most of your space and your lifestyle and guide you on your journey to a slow, easy life. GN

My Body Keeps Your Secrets
From body image to consent, reproductive rights and sexuality, the bodies of women, trans and non-binary folk are often at the centre of political and societal conversations. And it is these topics that Osborne-Crowley so boldly explores in My Body Keeps Your Secrets. This memoir-meets-investigative non-fiction hybrid eloquently details Osborne-Crowley’s own experience with shame, guilt and subsequent trauma from her rape at age 15, while exploring the heartbreakingly raw stories of others and how the scars of assault and abuse aren’t always visible but can last a lifetime. This book is by no means an easy read — be prepared to delve into a harsh reality and get uncomfortable — but it is essential material for anyone looking to learn more about the experience of women and non-binary people around the world. Through My Body Keeps Your Secrets, the author and those who shared their stories have created a modern feminist manifesto that amplifies our collective voice and will light a fire within every reader. GN

Ayurvedic Rituals: Wisdom, Recipes & the Ancient Art of Self-Care
The term “self-care” has become so amorphous it’s all but lost its meaning. But in Ayurvedic Rituals, Chasca Summerville revisists the ancient art of self-care as something more than simply a buzzword. Translated to “science of life”, Ayurveda is for anyone seeking to deepen their sense of inner peace and increase their wellbeing. Summerville’s self-care bible is a treasure trove of recipes, rituals and remedies. It is a gentle guide to journeying back to yourself, to living in tune with Mother Nature’s ebbs and flows and to living slowly and carefully in a modern world that demands the opposite from us. I particularly enjoyed the educational pages on understanding your skin and stocking your pantry that precede the many DIY beauty and Soul Food recipes. It’s an inspiring and therapeutic read that I will return to whenever I feel “stuck” or burnt out. CH

Choosing Love: Living Our Lives to Nourish Our Hearts
By choosing love, writes artist and author Meredith Gaston in her latest book, Choosing Love, “we can return to community- and kin-centred living. We can identify that separateness, competition and loneliness are detrimental to our health and happiness, and we can open our hearts to connection and togetherness.” After the few years we have endured, reopening our hearts to community is just the tonic we need to heal. Choosing Love is a tender, beautiful book full of musings and lessons on love. It is, in fact, a love letter to love itself. Gaston is an exceptional artist and the illustrations alone make for a wonderful page-turner, but it is Gaston’s words that enrapture the reader, that invite you to linger on the value of love long after you have closed the cover. At the end of each of the 20 chapters (which cover concepts spanning wellbeing, intimacy, creativity and beauty), you will find a “conversation with the heart” — a letter to your own heart that is designed to prompt further self-exploration. To call Choosing Love a self-help manual would be to diminish its poetic value. It is a book to be dipped in and out of forever, for whoever needs a little more love in their life. CH

Card Decks

The Grief Companion
The Grief Companion is an illustrated pack of 65 cards that provide gentle guidance, support and knowledge for those navigating grief, but particularly for younger people for whom the grief space is lacking. The cards are categorised into three groups: actions, insights and prompts, ordered in a non-linear way so you can choose one at random or shuffle through them to see what feels relevant in the moment. Together, the cards offer a helpful and insightful path towards gentle healing, without being overcomplicated or inaccessible for even the most trying days. Beautifully illustrated with Ngaio’s hand-painted art, they would make a wonderful gift for a loved one going through loss. CH

Big Pussy Energy
Sexologist and yoga teacher Vanessa Muradian has created a deck of prompts and mantras to help you harness your pussy power and free yourself of unhelpful societal constraints. Vanessa invites you to take a topless hike with a pussy pal, initiate bold conversations and gaze at your genitals, all in the name of connecting with your desires and becoming the most authentic, confident you. Find journal prompts, inspiring quotes and self-care tips printed on beautiful, tiger-print cards. It’s a deck your fierce feminine energy is crying out for. On sale February 2. CH

More Than Affirmations Cards
Kick-start your day and boost your wellbeing with the More Than Affirmations card deck. Created and hand-packaged by Meet Her founder Athena Savvas, and Mind Matters Co founder and provisional psychologist Laura Allora, this is more than just your average inspirational quote deck. One side features powerful value-based affirmations to boost self-love and promote a positive mindset, and the flip side features actionable positive psychology or self-care activities. There are goal setting tasks, self-reflection prompts and even QR codes that link to a curated Spotify playlist or Pomodoro interval timer. The deck also doubles as a beautiful coffee table centrepiece or bedside feature, with a minimalist palette of terracotta, linen and blush. Don’t be surprised if these cards help to boost your motivation and positive mindset and push your inner critic aside — it’s amazing what a positive affirmation can do. GN


After Work Drinks
Pop culture meets fashion meets feminism in the iconic After Work Drinks pod. Hosted by freelance journalists and best friends Grace and Izzy, every episode feels like a get-together with the girls and will have you exploring everything from f*ck boys to femcels, celeb goss, Australia’s #MeToo movement and the latest and greatest books, films and Netflix binges. It’s the perfect mix of low-brow pleasures and high-brow conversations and I often find myself screaming in agreeance during daily drives. The pod has featured some amazing guests and thought-provoking interviews including Florence Given, Naomi Wolf, Flex Mami and Nell Frizzell. They speak to modern life as millennial women and where the heck we go from here. Smashing the patriarchy one podcast episode at a time? I’ll drink to that. GN

Wardrobe Crisis
Want to join the fashion revolution but not sure where to begin? Tune into WARDROBE CRISIS with Clare Press, a Sydney-based journalist, author, film maker and presenter, for the lowdown on all things sustainability and ethics in fashion. As the first ever sustainability editor at Vogue, Press has plenty of insights of her own into responsible fashion. She welcomes international guests from eco-warriors to garment workers on the front line of fast fashion and the founders of your favourite eco-friendly brands to go beyond the western perspective of fashion as we know it. WARDROBE CRISIS covers everything from plastics to politics to equip you with the education and inspiration you need to make a real change, starting with your own wardrobe — with plenty of yarns to keep you entertained on your daily commute. GN