The Best Books The Men’s Health Team Are Reading This Summer  - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Best Books The Men’s Health Team Are Reading This Summer 

Whether you’re searching for the perfect gift or looking for an enticing read to get you through leisurely summer days spent on the beach, our Men’s Health team recommend their favourites.

The day holds its breath a little longer in summer, and while these warmer months are synonymous with outdoor barbecues, beach cricket and evenings spent eradicating every trace of sand from your car interior and body parts, it’s also that time of year where few things prove as enticing as sinking into a good read. For some, the holiday break presents the opportunity to sink their teeth into the book stack that has been quietly accumulating on their bedside table – those reads you’ve been looking forward to all year, but weren’t quite able to get to what with work and other obligations squeezing hours from the day. 

But with time on our hands now, it’s time to do nothing but lay like vegetables and immerse ourselves in fictionalised worlds, or historic events, or simply learn valuable new insights we can offer up in conversation at the next dinner party.

Whether you’re an avid reader or simply looking for the perfect book to gift that friend who always has their head buried between pages, the team at Men’s Health have offered up their top recommendations to see you through the summer. From romance to mystery, breezy reads and comedies, these are our favourite books that deserve to go to the top of your reading list. 

Should We Stay Or Should We Go: A Novel by Lionel Shriver

“A couple in their 50s, Cyril and Kay, make a pact to euthanise themselves on their 80th birthday in order to avoid the indignities of ageing. But when the time comes and they find themselves still relatively healthy and active, Kay begins to get cold feet about their grim plan. That’s just chapter one.

In each chapter thereafter the story resets to the couple’s night of reckoning, plunging the characters into scenarios that incorporate obvious themes such as mortality (duh!), as well as contemporary issues like Brexit, cryogenics and, well, the future of the human race. In prose that leaps off the page with sparkling wit and ferocious insight, Shriver expertly dissects a laundry list of ethical dilemmas that will give you pause to reflect on your own life and how you’re living it.” – Ben Jhoty, Editor-in-Chief 

Just One Thing by Dr Michael Mosley

“My choice is Just One Thing by Dr Michael Mosley. No, it wasn’t the most beautifully written book I’ve read in the past year, but it had the biggest effect on my life. Now, I’ve worked at Men’s Health for more than 12 years. In that time, there aren’t many tips around health and longevity that haven’t entered my field of vision. But what Mosley does here is cut through all the noise and confusion and lay out a day’s worth of easy, actionable and scientifically backed steps that will more than likely improve and extend your life.

It’s everything from a morning stroll to a spoonful of sauerkraut, a few minutes’ meditation to a well-timed cup of coffee, an afternoon nap to a hot bath. Some of his tips you’re probably already doing; others you won’t be. I’ve made about five changes to my routine based on the book – and my heart’s still beating! I think it’s worth getting – as an adjunct to MH, of course.” – Dan Williams, Deputy Editor 

King: Life, Death and Hip Hop by Hau Latukefu and Christopher Riley 

“This summer I will be diving into a novel by our very own Men’s Health Contribution Editor Christopher Riley! A biography of Aussie hip hop legend Hau Latukefu (pioneer, ARIA-winner, radio presenter, taste-maker, producer, label-owner and mentor), the book details Latukefu’s journey from Queanbeyan, aka ‘Struggle Town’, to the top of Australian hip hop, and is an insightful look into the evolution of music in Australia. I’ve only just started the first chapter and can’t get enough.” – Nikolina Ilic, Digital Editor 

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart 

“This time last year, I had my head buried in Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain and finished it with the knowledge that I would read anything he put his name to – even his grocery lists. Despite the high expectations I had going into it, Young Mungo exceeded all expectation. It tells the story of Mungo Hamilton, a 15-year-old coming-of-age in a Glasgow housing scheme with two siblings and a largely absent, alcoholic mother. When he meets James Jamieson, an older Catholic boy, the two are forced to navigate this newfound love against a backdrop of violent masculinity and gender norms, evidenced in other characters. If you’ve read A Little Life, you’ll know the power of writing to knock the breath out of you, and while this has flashes of tragedy and devastation, it’s also a lot more hopeful.

Stuart’s writing is inimitable; he renders Glasgow so vividly, it feels like a character in the story. While this is certainly a novel that will see you sob into your pillow, it’s a triumphant one that speaks to the power of identity – even if that identity sees you branded different. For Mungo, being a young gay man is the very thing that frees him from the toxic world of his upbringing and the realisation that comes in the final pages of this novel will stay with you for a very long time.” – Jess Campbell, Digital Writer. 

The Alchemist by Paul Coelho

“I don’t use the words life changing lightly, certainly not to describe books. But the profound spiritual journey that is The Alchemist made me a different person than I was before I read it. The Alchemist can be simplified as a self-help book. It will teach you how to achieve your dreams, teach you how to overcome obstacles and help you learn how everything has purpose. The main character’s journey parallels your own as you make your way through this book as you both encounter profound and meaningful lessons to be learnt along the way. I come across a lot of self-absorbed and half-assed quotes on social telling me how to live my life and find success, I usually scoff and move on, having never been a person to live my life by a mantra. The Alchemist is littered with Instagram-worthy quotes that force you to stop and think. Eventually you’ll internalise their messages and come away as better person.” – Cayle Reid, Digital Content Producer 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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