14 books for everyone who needs a distraction right now

If you’re still off work, on holiday or need a distraction from the bushfires, a good book may be just what you need right now.

A good book is just what we all need all the time, really.

We’ve put together a list of popular reads across many categories and genres, from romance to cooking, fiction to history. Best read by a pool.


We could all use a laugh at the moment, so here are 488 of them. A hilarious offering from veteran Australian comedian Kitty Flanagan, it provides the antidote to life’s pesky little problems.

What people are (Kitty Flanagan is) saying about this book: 'You're welcome everyone.'


The first novel by The New York Times Magazine staff writer, Fleishman is in Trouble is a satirical look at modern love and dating, through the lens of the recently divorced Toby Fleishman.

Listed in Esquire UK's 'Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2019' and Literary Hub's 'Most Anticipated Books of 2019'.

Young Children

A glow-in-the-dark picture book from the beloved Australian TV character. Join Bluey as she flies through the night in a magical dream adventure.

From the people behind the most-watched program ever on ABC iView.

History and Politics

A fascinating read, Dark Emu challenges the reductive framing of pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians as hunter-gatherers when the evidence shows that Aboriginal society and agricultural practices were far advanced.

‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be.’ Judges for 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Young Adult Fiction

The first release in a new series about friendship, travel and love. Two weeks in Tokyo turns elite swimmer, Dina McNamara's life upside-down.

Five friends. Eight countries. 1 amazing adventure.


Now a TV series starring Michael Sheen and Tennant, Good Omens is an oldie but a great-y, suited to adults and teens alike. The world will end next Saturday. Just before dinner. The battle of good versus evil is on.

'Reads like the Book of Revelation, rewritten by Monty Python.' San Francisco Chronicle


Award-winning chef, restaurateur and The Guardian columnist, Yotam Ottolenghi has brought Middle Eastern food into the mainstream. Here he presents 130 easy recipes that are still packed with flavour.

"Fantastic. Scintillating flavours . . . dishes you can cook with ease." Sunday Telegraph

Crime and Mystery

A book about trauma, cults, conspiracy and memory, The Nowhere Child is the gripping story of an unsolved, decades-old disappearance of a little girl.

"Hugely entertaining ... a multifaceted, unsettling debut." The Age


With a phenomenal career that started at 16, Ellyse Perry is the only person to ever represent Australia in both cricket and soccer World Cups. Perspective features stories and reflections from her childhood and career.

From the first player in Big Bash cricket history, male or female, to reach 2000 runs.

Australian Fiction

Winner of a record four Australian Book Industry Awards, Boy Swallows Universe is the remarkable debut from The Weekend Australian Magazine writer Dalton. This is a heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating tale that has taken Australia by storm.

"One of the best Australian novels I've ever read" The Guardian


American research professor Dr Brené Brown believes that leadership isn’t about status or power. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognising the potential in people and developing that potential. 

"A road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead." Sheryl Sandberg


‘There was the time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything after...’

Now a major motion picture, read the steamy love story from Anna Todd, who Cosmopolitan called “the biggest literary phenomenon of her generation.” 

"After is a can't miss book - but get ready to feel emotions that you weren't sure that a book could bring out of you." Fangirlish

Biography and True Stories

“I thought I knew everything about Elton, but after reading his book, I learned so much more.”

Read the fascinating story of how shy English London boy Reginald Dwight became fabulous pop icon Elton John. Told in his own words.

"The rock star's gloriously entertaining and candid memoir is a gift to the reader." Sunday Times

Junior Fiction

The Heffley family is back. An unexpected inheritance provides a chance to make major improvements to their home. But they soon find that construction isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and may be forced to move?

"One of the most successful children's series ever published." The Washington Post

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