The best books for holiday reading


Are you that person that says “Oh, I love reading.”

But actually, your “reading” is limited to scrolling texts, reading group chat on Whatsapp and flicking through the weekend papers looking for the DJ’s sale?

Me too. I love the idea of being a big reader. Someone who reads so much that it necessitates a pair of sensible-but-chic- spectacles and a reading chair in dappled sunlight at home. But the reality is, I’m crap at making time for it. So I shove all my reads into summer; when there’s nothing but cricket on the tele, and I can finally worm into some great reads.

So if you’re looking for some book-spiration, I crowdsourced my friends, I hassled my book club, and came up some ideas for your summer reading list, and why they’re worth your holiday time.

Then, we made a podcast about them, because sometimes when you close that last page, all you wanna do is yell omg wtf was that discuss in depth the nuances of the book.

In every episode, we dive deep on one of the big reads of 2015.  There’s true crime, fiction, self help, prize winners, thrillers, so something for every taste.  Like every book club, the idea is you read something you might not have read before.

Subscribe in itunes for all the episodes and come read with me! Think of me as your reading personal trainer. Except I won’t charge you money, or yell at you to go ‘deeper’ into your squat ‘until it burns’. I’ll just gently encourage you to read at your own pace. Awesome.

Here we go:

The Prize Winner – All The Light We Cannot See: Antony Doerr

If I explained to you what this book was about, you’d never believe it won the Pulitzer. Orphaned children? A priceless diamond that holds magical powers? A blind French girl and a German whizkid who fall in love via a secret radio transmission? Oh puhlease. Sounds like something from the pages of a Mills and Boon.  But this war-time tome – ten years in the writing – is a masterpiece. Written from the child’s perspective, the themes of light, love, and how against all odds people still try to be good to one another, is stunning. Don’t be put off by the 500-odd pages; Doerr’s light touch means it’s an easy read.



I don’t know why my eyes are looking to the side. They should be reading the book.

To start with, the first episode, about All The Light We Cannot See, is here. And we all agreed that even though this won the Pulitzer, there was something REALLY wrong with the book:

The True Crime One: This House of Grief, Helen Garner

Would a man really stage an accident to murder his three children and get back at his estranged wife? That’s the question Helen Garner concerns herself with in this intimately observed court-house novel. The book follows the case of Robert Farquharson, accused of deliberately driving his car into a dam near Geelong. While the case captured, angered and horrified the nation, this novel is a meticulous study of character, of truth, and the reliability of memory.  It’s a brilliantly written, fly on the wall view of this tragic story.

The Beautiful Read: The Eye Of The Sheep, Sofie Laguna

The BEST novel I’ve read in YEARS. Run, don’t walk, to read about Jimmy Flick, the boy who goes too fast. His mind, his mouth, his limbs, his world just spins around him and in the process, his family is torn apart. Written from Jimmy’s perspective (autism spectrum, perhaps, but this is set in the 1970’s so no such term was around), it’s the most beautiful and skillful depiction of Australian domestic life I’ve read since Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet. You can almost smell the cut grass and the sea. It won the Miles Franklin. You won’t have to guess why.

The Self Help One: Big Magic,  Elizabeth Gilbert

I wanted to stab myself in the eye when I started this book. But once I coasted past the woo-woo, it was all ‘wow, wow’. The author of Eat, Pray, Love has penned a no-bullshit guide on how to make space for more creativity in your life. She argues that anyone can be creative, at anything, and her advice on how to stop giving a shit about what people think of you will have you highlighting passages and booking in for ice-skating lessons. A GREAT read to start the new year.

Me, Gabe and Jo feel the magic


The Thriller: The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins 

This book outsold Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code and has been sitting at the top of the charts all year.  Why? Because it’s riding firmly on the coat-tails of “Gone Girl.”  It’s a page turner, for sure, a female psychological thriller that canvasses some pretty dark themes around domestic life.  The characters are so unlikeable you’ll be eye rolling and groaning so much people may mistake you for reading Fifty Shades of Grey. But aside from that, it’s easy, it’s trashy, and there’s a decent twist at the end.


The Cult Following: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, Marie Kondo 

Marie Kondo is a 30 year old Japanese woman who is obsessed with tidying. She wrote a book about it. That book has now sold FIVE MILLION COPIES.  Her ‘Konmari’ method of tidying, as she has coined it, now has a cult following and has sprung an entire fleet of associated blogs, pintrest pages, and devoted worshippers of her tidy-home-mantras. She says her book will make you more successful, more confident, and more motivated to create the life you want. The sparse, whimsical nature of this book is charming, and while her OCD tendencies may leave you questioning her psychology at times, there are a number of take-home messages that will see your house turned from topsy-turvy to tidy.

Tidyness is next to Godliness

OK. So, there you go.  A mixed bag for your choosing.



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