Holiday reading

Here's a link from my widget to The Guardian's best holiday reads, so what are yours?

Here are some searching questions of my own.

When you're going on holiday do you read about your destination beforehand? Do you stick to guide books or do you read novels or non-fiction set in your chosen spot?

Do you think reading a book adds to the holiday experience, I wouldn't have enjoyed my holiday in Sologne half as much if I hadn't read Le Grand Meaulnes while I was there, it really brought it alive?

Do you take your normal reading material or do you go for heavier or lighter reading than usual?

Hi Lucy, If you liked the Guernsey Spud Club (as it was called in my book group) you might like to try The Book of Ebeneezer le Page by GR Edwards which is also set in Guernsey, it’s a wonderful book, not a fast read but with bags of charm.

There’s also Their Finest Hour and a Half - can’t remember the author- which is about making a propaganda flm in the early days of the war and is a hoot, it’s a true cross over book, my husband and daughters loveed it just as much as I did.

The other one I have read is “The Blind Assassin” - I thought that was awful too!! Definitely not bothering with her again - either for holiday reading or at any other time!!

I don’t think Margaret Attwood falls into the category of holiday reading.
I thought her book The Handmaiden’s Tales was awful.

Have just finished reading a Margaret Attwood - “Surfacing”. I couldn’t get my head around it at all! Even now that I have finished I am not quite sure what was going on - though I would say that it seemed to me that the “heroine” was probably mentally unstable!! Not that I didn’t understand what actually happens in the book - she goes back to her old family home for the first time in years, with a boyfriend and another couple. But, for me, there needed to be more background, more explanation of what follows and why!! I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody!! I have read at least one other Margaret Atwood and I don’t think I will be bothering to read another!!! Enough said I think!

Thank you both for those suggestions - I will get my “search” button on the go and see if I can get hold of one or both!!

Hi Lucy I loved GL & PP Society too, such a change from the norm and I felt I learnt a lot about life on the Channel Islands during the war.

Have you tried a book called Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. I cried and laughed out loud reading it yet it is much heavier than your average chick lit.

Hope it appeals x

I read that a while back as I borrowed it from an English teacher who is French. She had studied it for her teaching exams. Hard to get into at first but then couldn’t put it down. Not what you expect in the slightest.

Have you read Waterland by Graham Swift It is the historical story of the Fens and a family. It has become a mocdern classic and was first published in 1983. I enjoyed it.

Look at Project Gutenberg. They have an immense range of free classics.

Have read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society - a little while ago now! I REALLY enjoyed it! Clever and interesting all at once!
Not sure really WHY I didn’t like Mr Whicher - I think it just seemed really unsatisfactory to me because there was never a definitive answer! Perhaps if the story had really followed what he had done/ conversations he had/ what he concluded etc then I might have coped better. But it seemed to me that it was just a complete jumble of hearsay and fact assembled into some semblence of order!
If you enjoyed GL and PP Society (and so did I) have you any more suggestions??

My son has a Kindle - but can only get books from for it, rather than free ones from - which makes me reluctant to get myself one as I would like to stock up on free classics that I know I will enjoy! HAs anybody else had this problem … and is there an easy answer!??

I read Mr Whicher and I think that we are so used to having a real who dunnit that we find the restrictions of detective work in that age incredibly slow. The book did jump about it a bit, but on the whole I quite enjoyed it.
Can I recommend “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” b, y Mary Anne Shaaffer and Anne Burrows. This tells the story of Guernsey under German occupation and is quite an extraordinary book and well worth the read.

Hi Jenny I have finally finished Mr Whicher and I remain quite frustrated by the whole thing!! I can’t really imagine writing a book about a real life murder without there being a definitive answer to “who-dun-it”!!! Also I continued to find the mixture of story-telling, lines from newspaper articles, gossip, hearsay and “fact” very tiresome. Not sure what I am going to read next - but I hope it will be GOOD!!
Maybe I should go back to Jane Austen and re-read one of hers - or a Bronte - or even a Dickens!! I do rather like them - perhaps because they were what I studied at school so I sort of see how it works!! Not sure!! Hope that we will get back to UK quite soon so that I can trawl the charity shops and get some bargains! I don’t mind disliking a book, or stopping before the end if I only paid 50p for it!!

Lucy I am a huge Austen fan but alas always from watching TV dramas or films. I decided that it was time that I knuckled down and read a book instead. I was worried about the old English in it but it was fine and I agree she was so so ahead of her time.

Jeffery Deaver I only got into as I was trying to work my way through the English language novels in the CDI at the Lycee I was working at. I had 7 months to do it and started with those I fancied then moved on to ones unknown. I thought his books were great and all very different.

When we went over to the UK in July we cruised all the charity books and I stocked up.

Not heard of the Mr Whicher book but let me know how you get on.


Love Jane Austen - there always seems to be so much depth to the writing, great characterisation, and I find that I want to know what happens to the “people” that she has created! I have never read Jeffrey Deaver - but I might give him a whirl!
I have been TRYING to get to grips with “The Suspicions of Mr Whicher” - a true story about a murder back when policemen and detectives were just becoming the “norm”. So far it isn’t really gripping me - plus it seems to be a strange mixture of story telling, quotations and facts!! May give it a bit more time, but if it doesn’t grab me soon it will have to go! Has anybody else tried it? Loved it? Hated it?
Too many books that I want to read to waste too much time reading something that I don’t enjoy!!

I read two very different books this holiday. Persuasion by Jane Austen and a thriller by Jeffery Deaver. I have watched numerous films of Persuasion and have always meant to get around to reading it. An English teacher (but a French lady) that I work with at the Lycee gave me a copy printed in the 30’s that she found in an old book store and thought of me. It was fabulous and now I need to read all of her other books. The thriller had me on my toes and I even made my husband take the children out on the lake on a pedalo so I could carry on reading!! That is what I love about books!

Exactly!! Speaking as somebody who would rather sit and read than do almost anything else being able to do it without feeling guilty about it is FAB-U-LOUS!!

Welcome to Bookworms Lucy and thanks to you and Jane for taking the time to reply! Reading on holiday is a great luxury…you don’t have to feel guilty about it and think you should be off doing something else.

Just because it is easier - the answers to your questions in order!!
I try to find out about my destination before hand as I hate to get back from somewhere and then discover that I missed out on seeing something that I wanted to see!!
In general I stick to Guide books before hand - though sometimes chose a holiday destination because of something I have read. Or chose to read something because I have been there on holiday!!
I don’t read a lot of non-fiction - but when I do it is often centred around a place that I have been, or am going to!!
Definitely think that reading can make a huge difference to enjoying a holiday!! Wish that I had the energy to be dashing around seeing and doing things all the time - but the reality is that i don’t. So I enjoy being able to sit down and read and relax!!
I think I probably take a mixture of what I would normally read and something a little heavier… so that I can give it the concentration it deserves and not keep being distracted by normal life!!