My Holiday Booklist for 2014
What I'll Be Reading On Holiday This Year
This is a top ten list of my favorite holiday books for 2013. What can be better than having a great book to read by the beach or in the park, letting yourself fully relax! This list is quite girly - holiday reading for women rather than men, but it's all down to personal taste really.
What makes the perfect summer reading list? The best holiday read for me is one that immerses me into another person's world, with originality and imagination. I like a variety of genres, but the most essential factor for a great book is one that I will read again and revisit like an old friend.
I love reading books on holiday that are set in another country, as you will see from my list. There's a mixture of old favorites on my summer booklist and newer reads here too, I hope you will enjoy
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The title sounds cute, but believe me it isn't!
I bought Little Bee because, firstly I liked the cover (I am fickle like that) and secondly there wasn't really any information in the blurb on the back as to what this book was about. Intrigued I bought it and read it in a day, it is absolutely brilliant.
So, as the book cover gives very little away, I won't either! All I will say is that it follows a Nigerian girl who is an illegal immigrant in the UK, it is an interesting insight into the lives of immigrants. Little Bee is touching, funny, sinister and you will be mulling it over for weeks after finishing the book. Read it!
Riders by Jilly Cooper
A classic 80's "bonkbuster"!
I just had to feature a Jilly Cooper novel here, as she writes ultimate girly holiday book, and what better than her first "bonk buster", Riders!
First published in 1985, this book became an immediate best seller and is still very popular today as it is gloriously retro but not dated.
In a nutshell the book is about the glamorous world of show jumping, and the people who compete to a high level in this sport and all the shenanigans that go on behind the scenes! The main character is the roguish and handsome Rupert Campbell Black, but you will find that the plot doesn't just focus on him but revolves around many other characters too like the mysterious Jake and the feisty Fenella.
Pure escapism and fun! Click here to read my full review of Riders!
The Seven Fires of Mademoiselle by Vilar Esther
A Quirky Love Story
Set during the days of JFKs presidency, the Seven Fires of Mademoiselle is written through the eyes of Carlota, the daughter of the Argentine ambassador in Washington DC.
Her nanny is "Mademoiselle" a stunningly beautiful woman who attracts any man she meets, but is not interested in any of them.
At Christmas, Carlota's homemade decorations catch fire, and the fire brigade is called. Mademoiselle could have had her pick of all the hunky firemen, but it is the short bald fire chief that she immediately falls passionately in love with.
He shows no sign of reciprocating her love for him, and so Mademoiselle and Carlota embark on fire raising adventures to capture his heart. This is an enchanting and beautifully written story, which will change the mind of any love cynics out there!
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Cider with Rosie is a beautifully poetical book and was first published in 1959, it is an autobiography of the Laurie Lee's childhood, the first in a trilogy of memoirs. The reader is transported into the nostalgic and evocative memories of Laurie Lee growing up in small village in Gloucestershire (UK) just after the First World War.
Cider with Rosie is written in such a richly descriptive and expressive way that you feel part of his childhood too. This particular line from the chapter "Summer and Winter" should be enough encouragement for you to go and read this book immediately!
"The grass was June high and had come up with a rush, a massed entanglement of species, crested with flowers and spears of wild wheat, and coiled with clambering vetches, the whole of it humming with blundering bees and flickering with scarlet butterflies." From Page 150 of Cider with Rosie.
A Quick Poll!
How many books do you take on holiday?
Room with a View by E.M. Forster
The heroine in A Room with a View is Lucy Honeychurch, who travels on a "grand tour" for the first time to Florence, Italy with her overbearing cousin Charlotte. In Florence she meets George, an Englishman staying in the same hotel. The story takes us on a journey of Lucy's self awareness, reflecting the social changes of the period from the repressed moral values of the Victorians to the more liberal Edwardian age.
This book also has one of the best kisses in literature - I won't spoil it for you, it is undeniably romantic!
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Dryson
This book is not a guide book to ornithology in East Africa! The story follows Mr Malik, a quiet widower who has been in love with Rose Mbikwa, the leader of the weekly East African Ornithological Society walk in Nairobi.
When his arch enemy from his school day appears and starts showing an interest in Mrs Mbika, Mr Malik knows he has to make his feelings clear. This is such a charming and beautifully written book, with heartbreaking hidden secrets revealing themselves slowly as the book progresses. You will come away from reading this thinking "how lovely", and it really is.
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
A Coming of Age Tale
Chad Harbach took 10 years to write "The Art of Fielding", which is his debut novel and it quickly became a best seller. Henry Skirmshander is a small and weedy 17 year old with a prodigal talent as a short stop baseball player.
Through strict regime and mentoring he becomes the star of the college baseball team. In a game where there are scouts visiting to watch him, Henry throws one bad ball, which changes his life and the lives of four other people.
You are drawn deeply into the lives of these five very contrasting characters and their relationships, this is such an engrossing book and I was sad to finish it!. This book explores the themes of growing up, the loss of innocence and paths we take in life - it is much more than a book just about baseball or college. And it doesn't matter one bit if you know nothing about the sport!
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
The Most Inspirational Travel Book Ever?
This is one of the best books I have ever read, ever! I read it whilst travelling around India in May last Summer and loved the authors observations of India.
Gregory David Roberts is a fascinating man, he escaped from a maximum security prison in Australia and fled to India. Shantaram is his story of his time in India, where he lived in the Bombay slums, founded a free health clinic for slum dwellers, was imprisioned in a harsh Indian prison, recruited by the Bombay mafia and then fought with the mujaheddin fighters in Afghanistan.
Roberts wrote Shantaram in prison (he was recaptured in Germany and sent back to Australia in 1990) where the prison guards destroyed his two first versions of the book.
This is truly an inspirational and mind blowing novel. Check out Shantaram.com for more information on the author.
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
The Loss of Innocence
"Bonjour Tristesse" means "Hello Sadness" in English and was written by Francoise Sagan when she was just 8 years old, in 1954. This novel is about when a 17 year old girl's meddling with her father's love life goes too far.
This version of the book is translated from the French, but you can buy the French edition from Amazon. Set over a sultry summer in the French Riviera, it is beautifully written with a tragic ending.
Click here to read my full review of Bonjour Tristesse
Jamie Does....by Jamie Oliver
Recipes from all over the world!
A recipe book for a summer read can be a great inspiration to cook new dishes, you can sunbathe in the garden and salivate over the photos!
This is a collection of Jamie Oliver's best recipes from his TV series "Jamie Does.." where he travels to 6 different countries - Marrakesh, Athens, Venice, Andalucia, Stockholm and the Midi Pyrenees region of France. With his boundless enthusiasm and passion for great fresh food, there is bound to be a perfect recipe in here for you to cook and eat outside with friends or for a lazy summer afternoon.