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Guilt is temporary. Incredible books last a lifetime.

Families in the holidays can be annoying: all the constant eating and drinking, not to mention all the blah, blah. It can be tough to find time for the one relaxing treat you promised yourself this summer break: reading. ‘Impossible!’ You say. ‘The kids, they won’t… and then we’ve also got Grandpa.’ Don’t sweat it. We’ve got your back. Here are seven sinfully sneaky summer reading tricks that your family won’t even notice.

1. The Boxing Day Cricket
It’s longwinded. It’s tedious. Nothing much really ever happens, anyway – does it? It’s the perfect smokescreen for you to couch up, and sink your teeth into 30-odd hours of dedicated reading (punctuated perfectly with lunch and tea breaks).
Suggested titles:
Please Gamble Irresponsibly
Khaki Town

2. The Barbecue Slow-Cooker
This one requires a bit of forward planning. First, you need to get the hammock or banana lounger set up under a tree nice and close to the barbecue area. Second, you need to buy a large portion of meat (sorry vegetarians, you’ll need another tactic) – the kind that needs to be cooked excruciatingly slowly, over a period of roughly two days. But you still need to watch it, right?
Suggested titles:
Braised Pork
Olive, Again

3. The Puff of Smoke
Told you you’d need to be sneaky. But here’s the thing: when your family members are suitably sun-kissed from the morning beach/backyard/pool/neighbourhood activities, and satisfyingly stuffed food-wise, they’re not going to notice you’re absent from the post-lunch coma. Make a coffee, find an out-of-the-way hidey-hole somewhere and off you go.
Suggested titles:
The Starless Sea
100 Years of Solitude

4. The Waterpark
There’s lifeguards to watch the kids. Professionals. And, woops! Looks like you forgot your bathers. Again. This trick can also work for the beach. Just be sure the littlest ones are supervised, by a significant other adult. Like Grandma.
Suggested titles:
The True Colour of the Sea
Into the Water

5. The Car
Sounds crazy, right? But it’s not. Because… audiobooks. Think about it: air-con, no distractions – except for the driving bit. Pick-ups, drop-offs, errands, shopping, even the previously dreaded airport run. You’ll stop for every amber. You’ll deliberately take the slowest route possible. Audiobooks = game-changers.
Suggested titles:
Love Is Strong as Death
Hitch

6. The Early Night
Not dissimilar to the Puff of Smoke, but less sneaky. After all, who doesn’t need an early night? No one will begrudge you. ‘Treat yourself!’ They’ll say, as they cue up the annual holiday movie reruns. And treat yourself you will. You’re welcome.
Suggested titles:
Gone by Midnight
Blue Moon

7. The Up and Run
The perfect follow-up to the Early Night. Again, to pull this one off, you need to plan ahead. Create a diversion by whipping up a fruit salad, or buying some croissants ahead of time. Have your clothes ready and book packed – still warm from the previous night’s reading. Set an alarm for about ten minutes before your household’s usual wake-up time, and sneak out to your favourite park/café/beach/whatever (location is a secondary consideration here) before anyone’s even up. Come home with milk and fresh sourdough, and they’ll forget you were even gone.
Suggested titles:
The Good Liar
Against All Odds

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