Best holiday reads (and the holiday to pack them for)

woman reading a book on the beach

Danny Baggs

Posted March 31, 2022

Here are the best new books to read on your next holiday, from mountains to beaches and everything in between.

A good book should be on everyone’s packing list now that borders have opened for interstate holidays. They’re also an essential for lazy long weekends and staycations in Melbourne. Reach for one of these new reads and escape into new stories on these holidays.

Best books to read on holiday (and where to read them)

The Sorrow Stone - Kari Gislason (2022)

The Sorrow Stone is a gritty retelling of an ancient Icelandic saga, in which a woman, Disa, flees with her son through Iceland’s fjords after a brutal revenge killing. Disa’s story is based off Thordis Sursdottir: sidelined as a bit player in the original Viking tales, but now pushed to the forefront to tell her own story of loss and revenge. This book is sparse, elegant and unforgiving.

Read it in the Snowy Mountains as you sit by a log fire in winter, while snow falls softly outside your cabin. Looking out your window at the granite outcrops and glacial lakes, you could almost imagine that you’ve been transported to Iceland yourself.

Flock: First Nations Stories - Ellen van Neerven (2021)

Flock is a captivating anthology of stories from leading and emerging First Nations writers such as Tony Birch, Melissa Lucashenko and Tara June Winch. Award-winning author Ellen van Neerven has curated and introduced the short story collection, which attests to the enduring strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

Read it in Central Australia between motorhome pit stops or premium rail travel, as you tour tiny regional towns with incredible Indigenous artworks, take in sweeping desert vistas, and pay homage to the Red Centre’s sacred Uluru.

The Sorrow Stone by Kari Gislason against the Snowy Mountains

Read The Sorrow Stone by Kari Gislason in the Snowy Mountains.

The Grass Hotel - Craig Sherborne (2022)

If you’re staying in your favourite stomping ground over Easter, pick up The Grass Hotel by Craig Sherborne. You don’t have any flights to catch or new cities to navigate, so you can tackle this difficult yet rewarding novel. The book is comprised of an older woman’s caustic internal monologue to her adult son as her mental faculties deteriorate with dementia. Poignant, fragmented and highly stylised, The Grass Hotel is uncomfortable in all the best ways as it grapples with turbulent family relationships and disjointed thoughts.

Read it in Melbourne as you sip coffee at one of our city’s great cafes or new bars. Our hot tip for book fanatics: pick up books for great prices at The Book Grocer (Bourke Street), located just a few doors down from the RACV City Club. This Australian, family-owned bookseller can offer books at bargain prices because they purchase ‘remainders’: books sold off at a discount by publishers to make room for new arrivals.

Ten Steps to Nanette - Hannah Gadsby (2022)

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby’s blisteringly honest memoir Ten Steps to Nanette traces how Gadsby went from a young homosexual woman with undiagnosed autism and ADHD in Tasmania (where homosexuality was illegal until 1997) to delivering her stand-up show Nanette in sold-out houses across Australia, the UK and the US. Ten Steps to Nanette is true to form for Gadsby: harrowing, hilarious, and powerful.

Read it in Tasmania, Hannah Gadsby’s homeland, while sipping on a glass of wine from celebrated Tasmanian vineyards. Make RACV Hobart Hotel your base in Tasmania’s bustling capital, and make sure to stroll down to Salamanca Market and the harbour, where you can catch a ferry to the provoking art gallery MONA.

Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby against a Tasmanian bay

Read Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby in Tasmania.

No Spin - Shane Warne & Mark Nicholas (2020)

The incredible and beloved leg-spinner who rewrote the record books of cricket, Shane Warne, tells his own story with incisive humour in the definitive autobiography No Spin. Nothing is off limits in his book: from his childhood in suburban Melbourne to his 700th Test wicket, from his infamous relationship with Hollywood star Elizabeth Hurley to the controversy surrounding the diuretic pill in South Africa. Warne even reveals the secrets of some of his deadliest deliveries.

Read it in Sydney after watching a football or cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG): the scene of some of Warne’s finest achievements. From fine dining to clifftop walks, there’s plenty to do in the NSW capital. Check out our Sydney travel guide for all the unmissable highlights.

Scorcher - Tim Ross (2021)

Summery beach holidays sound like crashing waves and whirring ceiling fans. They smell of sea salt and sunscreen, and taste like cold beer and prawns. Comedian Tim Ross captures this essence of our Australian summers in his nostalgic collection of short stories, punctuated by old, high-saturated photos unearthed from the National Australian Archives.

Read it on the Gold Coast, home to the five-star RACV Royal Pines Resort in sunny Surfers Paradise. Take your book to the beach with some local fish ‘n’ chips in between days out at the Gold Coast’s theme parks and stunning hinterland.

Scorcher by Tim Ross against the Gold Coast

Read Scorcher by Tim Ross on the Gold Coast.

Missing - Tom Patterson (2022)

Step into the unforgiving wilderness with Missing: the true story of Mark May, a bright young man who descends alone into remote NSW gorge country and lives in rough camps for 35 years before going missing, prompting his brothers to go searching for him. Eloquent but emotional, Missing traces ruptured families and survival in an uncontrollable world with a deep sense of humanity.

Read it in the Barossa Valley, located just outside Adelaide. It’s the perfect book to juxtapose the Barossa Valley’s incredible wineries and restaurants.


Missing by Tom Patternson against the Barossa Valley

Read Missing by Tom Patterson in the Barossa Valley.

RACV Members save more on amazing travel experiences.
Discover more →