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Updated by spenson on Jun 17, 2022
Headline for Best holiday reads 2016
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Best holiday reads 2016

Here is my list of great books for holiday reading. You can borrow any of these titles from MacKillop Library. Email Suzanne to reserve your copy!
Make sure you continue onto page 2 and 3 of the list.

The Soldier's Curse

"A fast-paced, witty and gripping historical crime series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg" (

100 Years of Color

"A perfect source of inspiration for any professional in the visual arts, this innovative book presents one hundred sensational examples of eye-opening color design, complete with all the information you need to reproduce them faithfully on screen or in print." (GoodReads)

Adam Spencer's World of Numbers

"From the building blocks of life, to the games we play, the food we eat, and the marvels of space, Australia’s funniest mathematician is back with a fascinating snapshot of the world of numbers" (GoodReads).

One life

"When my mother died in 2002, I found that she'd left behind many fragments of memoir.  These were the starting point for One Life, the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change" (

The Secret Chord

"The former journalist has used her experience as a foreign correspondent to turn David, the shepherd boy of the Old Testament, into the central character of a powerful novel" (Sydney Morning Herald).

Rogue Lawyer

"Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best" (

The Heart Goes Last

"A classic Atwood dystopia morphs into a savage, surreal adventure that examines self-deception and corporate control" (The Guardian).

Review from The Guardian: (

Paint Your Wife

"Once, long ago when the men were away at the war, Alma began painting portraits of the women of the town in lieu of payment for catching all the rats. His special favorite was Alice, who returned his attentions. Her husband George came home from the war, and set out to prove his love and reclaim his wife by shifting a hill with a wheelbarrow to improve the view.

Now, decades later, Alma's 'in lieu of' payment is revived so that an abandoned mother living in a depressed town can make her way. For the other townspeople looking to escape various corners of despair, drawing classes provide the answer. For when you draw, the only thing that matters is what lies before you" (GoodReads).

The Natural Way of Things

'Wood takes apart the mentality of patriarchy not with a scalpel, but an axe. However, the axe cuts deep ... The Natural Way of Things is chillingly dark and unfashionably didactic. But it’s also compulsively readable, and bears its load of significance with effortless power. The fury of contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror.' - The Guardian


"Sixteen-year-old Stephanie West has been dragged from Sydney to remote Maatsuyker Island off the coast of Tasmania by her parents, hoping to recapture a childhood idyll and come to terms with their grief over the death of Steph's twin brother. Cut off from friends and the comforts of home, exiled to a lonely fortress and a lighthouse that bears the brunt of savage storms, the months ahead look to be filled with ghosts of the past"

"Wildlight is an exquisite, vividly detailed exploration of the wayward journey of adolescence, and how the intense experience of a place can change the course of even the most well-planned life" (Pan Macmillan).

The Midnight Watch

"Based on true events, The Midnight Watch is at once a heart-stopping mystery and a deeply knowing novel – about the frailty of men, the strength of women, the capriciousness of fate and the price of loyalty" ... "David Dyer's astonishing novel The Midnight Watch is based on the true story of the SS Californian, the ship that saw the Titanic's distress rockets and yet, unfathomably, did nothing. A psychological thriller." (Penguin Random House).

Radiant Angel

"Prescient and chilling. DeMille's new novel takes us into the heart of a new Cold War with a clock-ticking plot that has Manhattan in its crosshairs" (


"Despite representing Indigenous children in court for 20 years, Innisfail magistrate Cathy McLennan does not claim to have the answer to youth crime.

Her memoir, Saltwater, which details her time working as a barrister for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in Townsville and on Palm Island, is intended to question rather than provide answers.

"The book is really a book of questions," Ms McLennan said." (

Shine: the making of the Australian Netball Diamonds

"A frank and revealing behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be an international netball star, covering everything from drug testing and salaries to motherhood, infertility, team politics, mental stress and pressure" (Finch Publishing Sydney).




"In a world that is so often challenging, with events that cause us all to wonder what is going on, Tim Costello takes us on a journey through the notion of faith and how we all need to believe in something greater than ourselves, no matter what religious background we are from. In this thoughtful and provocative book Tim explores some of the world's most challenging issues, including refugees, corruption, war, intolerance, poverty, inequality and global warming. He meditates on what is going wrong and points out how we so often lose sight of our shared humanity" (Hardie Grant).

Foreign Soil

"Within Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil, there is a constant shifting, a continual and often uncomfortable interplay between acts of speaking and acts of writing, between text and voice and back again. Speaking and writing, in Foreign Soil, are never simple acts. Both are, of course, embedded within the body, and as such are deeply personal and even instinctual; but they are, at the same time, inextricably implicated in wider social circuits of violence, of bodies politic, of privilege and power" (Sydney Review of Books).

Not Just For this Life

"Not Just For This Life is a salute and tribute to Gough Whitlam, commemorating what would have been his 100th birthday. Upon his death in October 2014 there was a national outpouring of grief and affectionate remembrances across the nation. This book includes condolences from politicians of all political stripes; eulogies from the State Memorial Service and a selection of messages of condolence from the men and women of Australia" (Newsouth Books).

Ghost Empire

"Ghost Empire should appeal to readers unfamiliar with the broad sweep of Byzantine history, whose interest has perhaps been piqued by Istanbul's latest agonies; and, of course, to Fidler's many ABC listeners.

It may be entry-level Byzantine history, but it is not unsophisticated history. Fidler might not offer serious competition to some of the more penetrating narratives of the Byzantine empire written over the past few hundred years by Gibbon, Norwich, Steven Runciman, the Irishman J.B Bury, British academic historian Jonathan Harris, or Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk. He offers something different" (Luke Slattery / Sydney Morning Herald).

Talking to My Country

Guardian Australia’s Indigenous affairs editor describes how he grew up ashamed of his background, in a land where his people were treated as a ‘prehistoric relic’ – and tells why inspiration from his ancestors has now driven him to stand up and speak out. ‘Everything we have won has come from dissent’ (The Guardian).

Break away : the heroes and hellraisers that made road cycling

"....a beautifully illustrated history of road cycling, from early velocipedes to the modern peloton, as told through the fascinating stories of 50 of the most important people to have stepped on a bicycle" (

Forces of Nature

"A breathtaking and beautiful exploration of our planet, this groundbreaking book accompanies the new BBC One TV series, providing the deepest answers to the simplest questions. ‘What is motion?'‘Why is every snowflake different?'‘Why is life symmetrical?'To answer these and many other questions, Professor Brian Cox uncovers some of the most extraordinary natural events on Earth and in the Universe and beyond" (Harper Collins).

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

"Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace" (Good Reads).

Walking Away

"Not content with walking the Pennine Way as a modern day troubadour, an experience recounted in his bestseller and prize-wining Walking Home, the restless poet has followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction far from home.

In Walking Away Simon Armitage swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal fringes of Britain's south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish" (GoodReads).

All This in 60 Minutes

"For more than thirty years Nicholas Lee was a cameraman on 60 Minutes, Australia's most respected and watched current affairs program, alongside Ray Martin, George Negus, Ian Leslie, Richard Carleton, Mike Munro, Jennifer Byrne, Liz Hayes and Tara Brown, among others. All This in 60 Minutes is the revealing and often hilarious memoir of his time with the show - of the crazy days of unlimited expense accounts, of late nights and bleary mornings, the fun and fear on the road, and in the refugee camps and war zones. It goes inside the IRA, Idi Amin's torture cells, and into palaces and mud huts. It recounts unforgettable trips on B-52s, ultra-lights and the Orient Express. And it takes you behind the interviews with the famous and infamous - from presidents, rock stars, despots and kings, to pygmies and manic, charismatic gurus.

The result is a book that is compelling, funny and utterly eye-opening. As Ellen Fanning describes it, All This in 60 Minutes 'Perfectly captures the controlled chaos, the seat-of-the-pants improvisation, the behind the scenes exhilaration of 60 Minutes . All of which goes to prove that often the best bits never make it to the screen" (Allen and Unwin).