Holiday reading list: 10 standout books you’ll love under a beach umbrella

The holidays are a great time to bury yourself in a new read, here are 10 books to keep you reading over the break.    

The holidays are a great time to bury yourself in a new read, here are 10 books to keep you reading over the break.     Photo: Getty, TND

Whether you’re looking for something to pass the time on holiday, or something to divert your attention from the inevitable family argument,  here are 10 books to keep you busy while you take your break.   


Niki Savva

(Scribe Publications, non-fiction, $35)

We’re kicking things off with a recent release by Niki Savva, renowned Australian political commentator, author and columnist.  

Bulldozed takes a deep dive into Australia’s political landscape over the past few years, specifically the fall of former prime minister Scott Morrison and the rise of the current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. It examines the unraveling of the Coalition government by the current Labor government.  

Savva delves into Morrison’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the challenges brought by natural disasters.

Lucy by the sea 

Elizabeth Strout

(Penguin Books, fiction, $32.99)

In March 2020, at the start of a pandemic which lasted eons longer than anyone could have imagined, Lucy Barton’s ex-husband William asks her to leave New York with him and escape to a coastal house in Maine.

A hesitant Lucy agrees. 

Time passes and as days turn into weeks, Lucy and William are confronted by their complicated past. 

The novel follows the tumultuous events in America that accompanied the pandemic and the mark that those events left on people. 

This contemporary novel is a reminder of the past few years and what we have overcome as a society to make it to the other side.

The Light We Carry 

Michelle Obama

(Penguin Books, non-fiction, $55)

Following the massive success of her debut memoir Becoming, former US first lady Michelle Obama is back with her second read.

The Light We Carry sets out to inspire, with practical strategies for staying hopeful in the face of challenge and adversity. 

With anecdotes filled with tidbits and nuggets of advice, Obama tackles the important themes of gender, race and visibility, drawing from her experiences as a mother, wife, daughter and former first lady.  

Seeing Other People 

Diana Reid

(Ultimo Press, fiction, $32.99)

Seeing Other People tells the story of two sisters navigating life in a post-lockdown world.

Following their newfound freedom, they work through the inevitable changes that the pandemic brought and begin to realise just how different they are.

The contrast of their lives becomes more apparent; one is a struggling artist and the other has a well paid corporate gig, where high pay doesn’t necessarily equate to a happy life. 

During one hot Sydney summer, these sisters examine their relationship as siblings, their romantic relationships and ultimately, their relationship with themselves.

My Dream Time 

Ash Barty

(HarperCollins, non-fiction, $49.99)

Writing a memoir is a feat worthy of praise, and it’s especially rare to be writing a memoir in your mid-twenties.

Although only 26, Ash Barty says this is the perfect time for her to reflect on the decades between the first time she picked up a tennis racket at the age of five, to winning at the 2022 Australian Open. 

In this memoir “of tennis and teamwork”, Barty looks inwards, delving into her personal and professional self and the way they intertwine.

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

Shehan Karunatilaka

(Sort of Books, fiction, $32.99)

Maali Almeida wakes up dead in a celestial visa office, and even in the afterlife Maali is running out of time.  

Set in Colombo in 1990, Shehan Karunatilaka’s satirical novel follows Maali, a war photographer, gambler and a closet gay who has ‘seven moons’ to contact the man and woman he loves the most. 

Time isn’t on his side, and against the backdrop of civil war in Sri Lanka, Maali must find a way to lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will shake Sri Lanka.  

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida won the 2022 Booker Prize.  

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

Baek Sehee 

(Bloomsbury, non-fiction, $39.99)

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

With a peculiar title that will make you do a double take, Baek Shee takes readers into 12 weeks of sessions with her psychiatrist, where together they try to unravel her habits and behaviours that are indicative of self-abuse. 

This “part self-help, part memoir” book explores the complexities of depression and mental health, as well as the perplexing dualities in Shee’s life.

She consistently has to fake through the funk in social settings but is still able to muster the joy to indulge in her favourite street food, the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki.    

The Successor: The High-Stakes Life of Lachlan Murdoch

Paddy Manning

(Black Inc., non-fiction, $34.99)

The Successor tells the story of one of the world’s most powerful people, Lachlan Murdoch. 

Despite being the apparent heir to the global media empire and having a life in the limelight, Murdoch remains an enigma to many. 

This biography, written by acclaimed journalist Paddy Manning, is said to be about “power, apprenticeship, politics and succession”.

It uncovers the mysteries behind the media mogul including his upbringing, political beliefs and role as the man behind Fox News. 


Jane Harper

(Pan Macmillan, fiction, $32.99)

Kim Gillespie leaves her baby alone in her pram at a festival on a warm spring night, never to be seen again.

One year later, Kim’s disappearance is still weighing on her friends and family, and unanswered questions begin to mount.  

Centred around an investigation in the small South Australian wine-town of Marralee, this gripping mystery will have you on the edge of your seat.

Things may seem rosy on the surface, but a closer look reveals this small town is hiding more than meets the eye.  

Demon Copperhead

Barbara Kingsolver

(Faber & Faber, fiction, $32.99)

This coming-of-age story follows the life of Damon (nicknamed Demon) Copperhead. Born to a teenage single mother who lives in a trailer park with her abusive boyfriend, Demon has to grow up fast, confronting the dangers of foster care, drug addiction and poverty.  

Equipped with an innate survival instinct, charm and his dead father’s good looks, Demon uses the weapons in his arsenal to overcomes challenges beyond his years. 

Drawing inspiration from the Charles Dickens’ classic, David Copperfield, Kingsolver’s telling of Demon’s story will have you enthralled by this mischievous, yet loveable character. 

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