new books

on the shelves

this month and

why the

critics are

raving about






Too many books, too little time?

Need a Read picks the highlights from new titles each month to help you find just the right book!

June/July 2022

Book of the Month – Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

May 2022

Book of the Month – The Paris Aparment by Lucy Foley

April 2022

Book of the Month – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

February 2022

Mysteries, love and addiction – what’s not to love?

Book of the Month – The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

January 2022

Fabulous new fiction to kickstart your year.

Book of the Month – Christopher by Nozuko Siyotula

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December 2021

Need a Read’s Book of the Year for 2021:

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

November 2021 : Thrillers

Looking for something unputdownable for the holidays?  Have a look at this amazing selection of thrillers.

October 2021

Brilliant fiction from big award winning authors plus a couple of extraordinary local titles, not to mention Ottolenghi!

Book of the Month – Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

August 2021

Three steamy romances as well as the hilarious, highly relevant The Echo Chamber and Paula Hawkins’s unputdownable new thriller.

Book of the Month – The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

July 2021

Two glorious books set in the late 1800’s questioning insanity and deformity, Florence, Antarctica, Australia and New York all feature in these fabulous July reads.

Book of the Month – The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas

June 2021

A big epic about women, flight and Hollywood, an exquistively crafted piece of local fiction and a book about raising chickens!

Book of the Month: Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead


I’m Karen Lane

I’m always delighted to meet a fellow reader.  My favourite phone calls are from friends standing in a book store asking advice on what to read next; which is why I’ve started Need a Read!  The books I chat about in the Need a Read newsletters are all lovely new titles which have been highlighted by publishers, raved about by critics, recommended by friends and enjoyed by me. I tend to favour fiction so that’s the main focus.

Whether you read to be entertained, enlightened, enchanted or energized; thrilled or educated or just to escape I hope you’ll be inspired by the books and book news featured in these newsletters.

As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.”


Karen is such an insightful source for book recommendations. She combines her own astute observations with loads of research into the reviews of leading book critics and the result is a brilliantly curated must-read-list. I suggest Need A Read as your first stop when you’re searching for your next novel or non-fiction book.

– Nicky R., Johannesburg

I love reading Karen’s recommendations from the other side of the world. Always brilliant.

– Steph L., Auckland

I can’t think of anyone better than Karen Lane to take you by the hand and lead you on a reading journey. Trust her.

– Jenny CW., Johannesburg

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