It’s the time of year for parties – Headline’s 25th anniversary, birthdays, weddings – and also for thinking about summer holidays and what books to pack. Whether you favour the ebook or the physical, surely the nightmare scenario is to run out of something to read on holiday and have to share the selection of your five year old, or your granny, or your partner who just may not have the same taste as you?
Let’s assume here you don’t have a Kindle, iPad or any other ereading device. And you don’t like what’s available in the local airport, or has been left behind in your holiday home – or you’ve read the entire selection available to you, complete with sand sprinkles and wrinkled pages. For me, the real pleasure is that it’s the time when I feel I’ll really get to savour what I’m reading against a backdrop of sunshine, and I won’t nod off over the same page that I read the night before.
Frankly, I’ll probably be head-to-toe in factor 50 sun-cream, wearing an unsuitable hat that marks me out as English and not even eccentric, and faffing around with my specs and sunglasses. But here’s what I’ll be paying extra for at the baggage counter this August:
Anne Chisholm, FRANCES PARTRIDGE: THE BIOGRAPHY
I love reading diaries, and have read all of those in print by Frances Partridge, who was the last surviving member of the Bloomsbury Group, and died in 2004 aged 104. She’s brilliant on friends, travel and the changing world, and if you reach that age, you know about life. Her biography has to be a winner.
Tea Obreht, THE TIGER’S WIFE
The youngest winner of the Orange Prize, and a debut that, even before it won, had a real word-of-mouth following. What’s not to like?
Jennifer Egan, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD
I read a collection of her stories years ago, and this volume has had such stellar reviews it has to come with me.
Helen Simpson, IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Helen Simpson has never written a novel, but is a modern day Katherine Mansfield, and her stories perfectly capture moments of singledom, marriage, working life, childhood – everyday living, really.
Louise Doughty, WHATEVER YOU LOVE
So many people have told me how wonderful this is that I know I’ll like it. And I like Louise Doughty on Radio 4, too.
Lisa Gardner, LOVE YOU MORE
I was introduced to this brilliant crime writer fairly recently. She’s ace on families, small communities, relationships – and utterly compelling to boot.
And when I come back, I can look forward to reading the new Victoria Hislop, THE THREAD, in which she returns to her beloved Greece. It’ll be out in October, just in time for half-term.
So, if you’re off on holiday soon, what are you taking? And, if you’ve already been, what books did you read and, more importantly, were they any good?
Posted by Imogen Taylor, Editorial