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Hello bookworms and welcome to the gorgeous month of May. Winter is on its way but the sun is shining (for now).

No matter what genre you’re into, this handy list of May new releases will have something for you — we promise.

As well as reading, May could be a big month for your writing. That’s cos the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers has officially kicked off. Yay! The prize opened on April 21 and will close on July 8.

The winner’ll score a cool $10,000 donated by Hachette Australia and a 12-month mentorship, which is pretty bloody cool.

So if you’re an Aussie citizen or resident who’s over 18 and loves to write, this one’s for you. It’s open to anyone who has never had their work published by a commercial publishing house.

You can suss out all the details at the website. Now without further ado… the books!

The article has been updated since its publication.

Best non-fiction books to read this month

How To Lose Friends And Influence White People by Antoinette Lattouf

How to Lose Friends and Influence White People

Penguin Australia

About this book:

Activist. Advocate. Ally. Antoinette Lattouf is an award-winning journalist and co-founder of Media Diversity Australia. In this funny and poignant self-help book, Lattouf won’t advise you to “criticise, condemn or complain” like Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. Instead, she explores the searing fallout into why you should not do that.

A powerful and personal guide on how to be effective, no matter who you’re trying to influence. Whether it’s the racist relative sitting across the table at a family function, or the CEO blind to the institutional barriers to people of colour in the workplace, award-winning journalist and vivacious leader Antoinette Lattouf has some tips and advice on what to do.

Unlike Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, it won’t advise you not to “criticise, condemn or complain” but instead explores the fallout when you do just that. With searing insights into the popularity contests you’ll forgo, and how to decide which races are worth running — and crucially which simply aren’t worth time or energy.

Release date: May 3, 2022

Where to buy: 

We Were Dreamers by Simu Lee

HarperCollins

About this book:

Simu Liu was the star of Marvel’s first ever Asian-led superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In this memoir, he writes about migrating from China to Canada at the age of four. One of the main focuses of the book is his relationship with his parents.

As Simu grows up, he plays the part of the pious child flawlessly – he gets straight As, performs exceptionally in national math competitions and makes his parents proud. However, as time passes, he grows increasingly disillusioned with the path that has been laid out for him.

Less than a year out of University, he is fired from his first job and hits rock bottom. He develops a determination centred around creating his own path. This leads him to not only succeeding as an actor, but also opens the door to reconciling with his parents.

Release date: May 18, 2022

Where to buy: 

Best fantasy books to read this month

Book of Night by Holly Black

Book of Night by Holly Black

Penguin Random House

About this book:

Book of Night is #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black stunning debut into the world of adult fiction. In this novel, she spins a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies that lovers of Ninth House and The Night Circus will find unputdownable. 

In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences-but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings-and memories-but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden-a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.

Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear-and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister-all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

Release date: May 3, 2022

Where to buy:

Best romance books to read this month

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Penguin Random House

About this book:

Set over the course of a spicy August, this new book from Emily Henry is sure to scratch your enemies-to-friends-to-lovers itch.

You might recognise Henry from her first two novels, Beach Read and You and Me on Vacation. If you’ve ever seen a single #BookTok recommendation, Henry’s guaranteed to make it on the list.

Nora is a cut-throat literary agent at the top of her game. Her whole life is books. Charlie is an editor with a gift for creating bestsellers. And he’s Nora’s work nemesis.

Nora has been through enough break-ups to know she’s the woman men date before they find their happy-ever-after. That’s why Nora’s sister has persuaded her to swap her desk in the city for a month’s holiday in Sunshine Falls, North Carolina.

It’s a small town straight out of a romance novel, but instead of meeting sexy lumberjacks, handsome doctors or cute bartenders, Nora keeps bumping into…Charlie.

I’m already hooked.

Release date: May 3, 2022

Where to buy:

Best contemporary fiction to read this month

RANDOM HOUSE UK

About the book:

A pitch perfect encapsulation of one young woman’s quest for self-knowledge, as she travels abroad and tests the limits of her newfound adulthood.

In 1996, Selin, the bookish, language-obsessed daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives at Harvard University for her second year. Having spent the summer teaching English in the Hungarian countryside while obsessing over her crush, Ivan, Selin is determined to untangle from her unrequited infatuation, and shed her first year innocence.

With her English syllabus as a rough guide, and her more worldly and confident peers as instructors, she resolves to become her own main character and throws herself into undergrad life — joining the literary magazine, attending house parties, and taking it into her own hands to spark her sexual awakening.

Release date: May 31, 2022

Where to buy:

Best historical books to read this month

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

HarperCollins

About this book:

In your Bridgerton-stan era? Obsessed with tales of women trying to finagle themselves a rich husband? Want to dive back into the world of capital-S Society? This debut from Sophie Irwin is for you.

Set in 1818, it focuses on Kitty Talbot — a woman in search of a fortune.

With just twelve weeks until Kitty and her sisters are made homeless, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her. And Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks. The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one – not even a lord – will stand in her way…

Release date: May 4, 2022

Where to buy:

The Coast by Eleanor Lemprecht

The Coast
Allen & Unwin

About the book:

A stunning novel of love and courage by the bestselling author of The Passengers.

Alice is only nine when in 1910 she is sent to the feared Coast Hospital lazaret at Little Bay in Sydney, a veritable prison where more patients are admitted than will ever leave. She is told that she’s visiting her mother, who disappeared when Alice was two. There, Alice learns her mother is suffering from leprosy and that she has the same disease.

As she grows up, the secluded refuge of the lazaret becomes Alice’s entire world; her mother, the other patients and medical staff  are her only human contact. But Alice is tired of the smallness of her life and is thrilled by the thought of the outside world. It is only when Guy, a Yuwaalaraay man wounded in World War I, arrives at The Coast, that Alice begins to experience what she has yearned for, as they become friends and then something deeper.

Release date: May 31, 2022

Where to buy:

Best YA books to read this month

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

Allen & Unwin

About this book:

While We Were Liars was initially published back in 2014, it wasn’t until two summers ago that Lockhart’s daughter forwarded her a TikTok video that blew up with the hashtag #WeWereLiars. Suddenly, people were sobbing, throwing her book at the wall (a good thing, we swear). Now, We Were Liars‘ long awaited sequel is coming out this month and we’ll finally get to know the truth behind the mysterious Sinclair family.

In Family of Liars, readers return to the Sinclair family’s private island, twenty-seven years prior to the events of We Were Liars. Carrie and her sisters love returning to their family beach house every summer, at least until a tragic accident befalls the sisters.

As the family deals with the fallout, Carrie tries to deal with her own grief. As the summer continues, she finds love with an irresistible and unpredictable boy while the sisters deal with an unforgivable betrayal and terrible, terrible mistakes.

Release date: May 4, 2022

Where to buy:

The Blood Traitor by Lynette Noni

The Blood Traitor by Lynette Noni

Penguin Australia

About this book:

This might just be one of our favourite fantasy book series of all time! The first two books in the series, The Prison Healer and The Gilded Cage were simply unputdownable, with one too many sleeping on this talented Aussie author. If you love the idea of a magical prison, a slow-burn romance and perilous trials, you must read the first two books ahead of the third and final book in the series’ May 31 release date.

Kiva thought she knew what she wanted — revenge. But feelings change, people change… everything has changed. After what happened at the palace, Kiva is desperate to know if her friends and family are safe, and whether those she wronged can ever forgive her. But with the kingdoms closer to the brink of war than they’ve ever been, and Kiva far away from the conflict, more is at stake than her own broken heart.

Plus, if you order from Booktopia you can receive a signed copy from Lynette Noni — but only while stocks last.

Release date: May 31, 2022

Where to buy:

The Merciless Ones

HarperCollins

About this book:

The first book by Namina Forna is this seres, The Gilded Ones, shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. It’s set in an ancient, West African-inspired world six months after protagonist Deka released the goddesses from the ancient kingdom of Otera.

War is waging across the kingdom, and the real battle has only just begun. For there is a dark force growing in Otera – a merciless power that Deka and her army must stop. Yet hidden secrets threaten to destroy everything Deka has known. And with her own gifts changing, Deka must discover if she holds the key to saving Otera… or if she might be its greatest threat

There’s honestly nothing like a good YA fantasy and this is ticking all our boxes.

Release date: May 26, 2022

Where to buy:

Best crime and thriller books to read this month

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Pan Macmillan

About this book:

If Jane Harper froths this book, then you know that this debut mystery novel by Aussie Hayley Scrivenor will be an absolute heart-wrencher.

On a sweltering Friday afternoon in Durton, best friends Ronnie and Esther leave school together. Esther never makes it home. Ronnie’s going to find her, she has a plan. Lewis will help. Their friend can’t be gone, Ronnie won’t believe it.

Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels can believe it, she has seen what people are capable of. She knows more than anyone how, in a moment of weakness, a person can be driven to do something they never thought possible. Lewis can believe it too. But he can’t reveal what he saw that afternoon at the creek without exposing his own secret.

Five days later, Esther’s buried body is discovered. What do we owe the girl who isn’t there?

Release date: May 31, 2022

Where to buy:

Litty Committee is Pedestrian.TV’s twice-monthly book column. Every month, we’ll take you through the newest reads and spotlight a novel we think you might like.

You can catch up on our other Litty Committee recommendations here