16/12/2016 8:49 AM AEDT | Updated 18/12/2016 3:15 PM AEDT

Six Books To Breeze Through This Summer

Relax your mind (or let it wander).

Such a struggle.

2016 has been a year of many things.

In the literary space, we've had some crackers -- you probably just haven't had the chance to get to them all.

Which is what summer is for, right?

Roll out that beach towel and poke your nose into some sweet new releases -- from thrilling page-turners and tearjerkers to easy escapes -- that pass the summer-read test.

1. When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi)

At 36, Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon and writer, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Months from finishing his postdoctoral training at Stanford University, he wrote an autobiography from his wheelchair. Kalanithi died in March 2015, aged 37, and 'When Breath Becomes Air' was released posthumously.

"The fact of dying is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live." Paul Kalanithi


Following its release earlier in the year, the memoir has has resounding success. His matter-of-fact prose is captivating as Kalanithi explores his transition from powerful neurosurgeon to anxious patient. Knowing he is soon to die, he contemplates his life and what really matters.

2. The Girls (Emma Cline)

This was American author Emma Cline's debut novel -- and it certainly made a splash in 2016. 'The Girls' is a seductive look into an infamous cult of young women in 1960s Northern California. It is Manson-like as central protagonist Evie Boyd, an only child from an upper middle class family, is whisked into a world of free love and drugs. The result? A summer page-turner.

3. Songs Of A War Boy (Deng Adut)

It has been a big year for Deng Adut, a former child soldier from South Sudan turned criminal lawyer and refugee advocate working in Western Sydney. And as The Huffington Post Australia found out, he also has an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Deng Adut has eight hats on rotation and three different tailors across Sydney.

'Songs of A War Boy' is his life story -- and it will make you challenge your views on what it is to be Australian.

4. Swing Time (Zadie Smith)

Coming from renowned novelist Zadie Smith, 'Swing Time' has been labelled her finest. It is a 'best friend bildungsroman' that follows the story of two girls from neighbouring estates in London.

As the only "brown" girls at a local dance class, 'Tracey' and an unnamed narrator form an inseparable bond. Both dream of becoming dancers yet only one holds the talent. What follows is a journey from East London to West Africa and back -- with a delicate intersection of music, class and race.


5. Sweet Bitter (Stephanie Danler)

It is the summer of 2006 in Williamsburg. Tess, a young girl, who has moved into town nabs a back waiter position at a downtown New York restaurant. And you can guess the rest.

'Sweet Bitter' is a coming-of-age novel featuring a classic kitchen love triangle and a maturing palette that may be considered vanilla if it weren't for its brilliantly-witty prose.

6. Chemist (Stephanie Meyer)

The author who gave rise to 'Host' and 'Twilight' is back with a fast-paced thriller. 'Chemist' follows the pursuit of a Alex, a former US government worker turned interrogator who accepts one final job from her shady ex-employers to clear her name.


And she is nothing like the vampires that preceded her. Known for squeezing the truth from her suspects using ghastly concoctions, she is a force to be reckoned with.

A spine tingler.