By the time you read this I will be lying on a beach, scoffing Italian crisps (oregano and paprika flavour or something equally exotic) and glugging Campari sodas. Yes, at last I am taking a very belated summer holiday and I am most excited about finally being able to delve into the stack of books that has been growing over the past few weeks and months.
My approach to holiday reading is two-pronged: I take books I've been looking forward to reading for ages - saving until I can savour them, but I also take ones that I've been putting off reading because they look really dull and I know the only way I'll ever get around to tackling them is if I'm stuck with nothing else to read. In the first camp falls Miss Read’s Thrush Green novels and anything by or about the Mitfords or Agatha Christie. In the second category lies The Last Man by Mary Shelley - described as 'an apocalyptic science fiction novel' ie. booorrinnnggg.
I’ve also got Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (yes I know I’m late with this, what can I say? I’m post cool!) and some stuff that should push me out of my comfort zone like Aifric Campbell’s On The Floor and Andrew Marr’s biography of the Queen.
Sometimes I like reading novels that echo the setting of the place I’m in, while it can also be fun to be transported to a place that’s the complete opposite of wherever you are (if you want to try this on a beach break, I would recommend One Day in the Life of Ivan by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which is set in a frozen Russian gulag). Other memorable beach reads have included Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, Rosamond Lehmann's Dusty Answer and The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters, edited by Charlotte Mosley. I might panic-purchase one more book in the airport plus a couple of magazines, just in case.
And even though it’s too late for this holiday, I would love to know what kinds of things you like to read when you’re travelling – do you go for fun, light literature or tough stuff? What’s your all-time favourite holiday novel?