Tray Tables away

travel tips and tales for mature travellers


Summer holiday reading for 2016/2017

How great to be able to combine two of my very favourite things in the world – travelling and reading!
With many of us looking at winding down over the Christmas break ( and possibly longer) I thought I would share some of my favourite reads for 2016 and what I plan to devour over the holidays. 

My favourite books of 2016

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

An impoverished Australian art restorer living in living in New York in the 1960’s agrees to paint a forgery of a rare painting by the mysterious dutch painter Sara De Vos. Now almost 50 years later she is curating an exhibition of Dutch paintings and her own painting turns up.

A great page turner that reminded me a lot of The Goldfinch ( another big favourite). As the 3 stories from 3 different eras start to collide it sends a strong message about how the deceits of the past can impact on the future.


The North Water Woah ! Master & Commander meets the Revenant and Jack the Ripper.
At one point this was the favorite to win the Booker Prize this year but didn’t end up making the short list.

Violent and explicit but quite extraordinary – I could not put it down. Blokes would enjoy this one as well.

Not for the faint hearted !




The Dry Have not read Australia crime this good since Peter Temple and the Broken Shore.

Brilliant writing, great well-developed characters and an ending that wasn’t particularly predictable. Suspense and intrigue around a brutal triple murder-suicide( or is it ?) running in parallel with the themes of small town life in the Australian outback during a crippling drought. Plus a little bit of Puberty Blues.

I guarantee this is going to be on the big or small screen before long.


The Orenda

A long, well researched, intense and often horrifically violent story told by 2 native Indians ( a village chief and a young girl he kidnaps) and a Jesuit priest in the 16th century. Gives a deep insight into the lives of the native people and the various settlers of the time including the day-to-day machinations of tribal village life and all the superstitions, magic, warfare, life, death and love involved.

Would have not had been on my radar if it hadn’t been gifted by a Canadian friend. Thank you!



26530317  Ada is a 12-year-old prodigy being raised by her brilliant, computer scientist single father. When he starts to lose his memory his secrets start to unfurl and everything that Ada has known and loved is questioned.

Amazing character development and a beautiful coming-of-age story.    Multi-layered, it touches on many different themes and invokes a wide range of emotions that makes it difficult to put down. Really thoughtfully written with a steady, even pace and full of surprises – I can’t think of a single book that is anything like it.

Books I plan to read this summer

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation #1)

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits an elephant.

Sounds like a light, quirky detective story set in Incredible India. I really don’t need any encouragement to return to India one day so hope it’s not too good!







I bought this book, and its follow-up “After they killed my Father’ at the airport in Phnom Phen and have been meaning to finish it. 

A candid, factful and often brutal telling of one girl’s experience being born into the time of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. 

This book has been made into a movie by the Jolie/Pitt crew.





Set in a small Australian country town where nothing much happens until  two local identities, a kindly butcher and a beautiful girl, go missing. Narrated by amateur sleuth Jean, a teen who slips dreamily and fluidly between country cliques, Goodwood is part coming of age story, part portrait of a community in crisis.





Big Little Lies


I’ve read a few ‘dog’ books this year ( Lily and the Octopus was a standout) but this book was actually first published in 1967 and is about two brothers who own a Montana ranch. When one marries a widow with a son the other is determined to terrorise them but underestimates the Power of the ‘Dog’.

It’s always had rave reviews and I hope to finally get to it.




I’ve always enjoyed Liane Moriaty’s books and the summer break is the perfect time to catch up on this one.

I see one of the stories is about a divorced woman whose ex-husband and new wife decide to move into her neighborhood. I’ve actually lived that scenario so should be quite fun the read.




  1. Ohh! These look great! My reading list just got a little longer!

  2. Kate

    Big Little Lies was good. An easy summer read.

    Have you read The Husband’s Secret? Another good one of hers.

  3. sandra

    Yes I have Kate- really enjoyed that one. Not usually a big fan of ChicLit but she manages to keep it quite real I think

  4. Kate

    I just read The Dry and The Unseen World within the past week. The Dry was great but I really loved UW.
    More book posts please Sandy!

  5. sandra

    lol, dont tempt me – thats my 2nd favourite topic !So glad you loved those books Kate. The Unseen World really is a remarkable book. And a first novel too !

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