15 Books That I Will Be Reading On Holiday
I've always been a massive reader. When I was young, Enid Blyton was the coolest author in town. Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the dog ruled my primary years and I was eternally jealous of their boiled egg and greaseproof paper wrapped sandwich adventures. It was always so surprising how many devious criminals and smugglers lived in Dorset, just waiting to be caught and handed over to the Police after full investigation by the Famous Five. Anne was the Saga Noren of the fifties, Julien the Lutheresque leader of Kirren Island. Malory Towers and St Clares were the next step up - every 12 year old wanted to be at boarding school having midnight feasts and competing for Head Girl status whilst battling on the playing field with jolly hockey sticks. Written nearly 70 years ago, these books were completely devoid of boys or any sort of adolescent issues - the most controversial events were hair pulling and tuck box pillaging.
For reasons unknown, I jumped straight from Blyton to Danielle Steel, the Queen of the romantic novel and purveyor of love. Every book had the same theme. Girl meets boy, boy proves to be wholly unsuitable, girl despairs of ever finding love again, girl finds perfect boy when least expecting it. I LOVED those books. I devoured them all, reading and rereading for years until I encountered Jackie Collins who wrote on a very similar theme but with the added bonus of entire chapters of pure filth. However, both Steel and Collins romance infused pages paled into insignificance when I discovered Jilly Cooper. Riders was a game changer - not only did it fulfil the basic requirements of unrequited love, bad boys, glamour and rampant sex, but it was also funny. Not just funny, it was hilarious. It took all the best elements of what I'd read before and added humour and clever comedy. Who can forget Rupert Campbell Black and his solid, show jumping thighs and propensity for shagging every woman (or otherwise) that crossed his path? Absolute brilliance.
My ability to book read has been on a total downward spiral since I had my kids. A combination of being completely knackered and being interrupted every two minutes over the last fifteen years has taken it's toll on my literary knowledge. The only time I've really ever been able to read a book is on holiday, lying on a sunbed taking turns with Joe to ensure that the children don't kill each other, or taking advantage of their rare afternoon naps.
Eight years ago we went to Crete, to a tiny Hotel in the middle of nowhere, with only one restaurant within walking distance which served amazing fresh tomato salads with feta and fresh oregano and huge totally non Greek pizzas. Every day, I’d put Leo down for a two hour lunchtime nap and lie prostrate on a sunbed with a book, listening to the crickets and ignoring my two older children arguing over inflatable flamingos.
This plan worked perfectly until day four, when, like a mini David Blaine, Leo managed to escape from his bed, exit the poolside apartment and casually saunter in his nappy straight to the water’s edge where he was spotted by a random cleaner and hoisted to safety. Parental credibility and quality book reading time both scuppered in an instant thanks to a weak cot mechanism.
Leo is now nine so there's more chance of him boycotting Fortnite than there is of him having a nap. However, with two teenage siblings to amuse him, I'm thinking that my time has now come and this year, I'm going for holiday book reading gold. After asking the collective Oracle that is my Instagram audience what I should be reading whilst attempting to tan, I was sent well over a hundred ideas for books that could enhance my holiday experience.
After looking at each one in detail, I've compiled my favourite suggestions from the list and shown them below. These aren't reviews, of course (in many cases I've taken the blurb from Amazon) as I haven't actually read them but these are the ones that I was drawn to the most. Also, what appeals to me may well not appeal to others - my teenage reading memories continue to influence my choices. Anyway, here's my top fifteen.
Adam Kay - Amazon £3.75
A no holds barred account of comedian and writer Adam Kay's experience as a Junior Doctor in the NHS.
Gail Honeyman - Amazon £4.49
Debut Sunday Times Bestseller and Costa First Novel Book Award 2017. An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness,
B A Paris - Amazon £4.00
According to Elle Magazine, if you loved Girl On The Train this is the one for you. A psychological thriller - sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.
Emma Garcia - Amazon £7.99
When her fiancé Rob breaks off their engagement for the third time, Viv does what any girl would do - she Googles heartbreak.
How Not To Be A Boy
Robert Webb - Amazon £6.99
Robert Webb tried to follow the rules for being a man: don't cry, drink beer, play rough, don't talk about feelings. Looking back over his life he asks whether these rules are actually any use. To anyone.
Jane L Rosen - Amazon £11.33
This novel brings together nine unrelated women whose lives are all touched by the same little black dress.
Maria Semple - Amazon £6.99
Soon to be made into a film starring Cate Blanchett, this is the highly charged story of a high achieving child, her genius Microsoft star employee father and her reclusive award-winning mother Bernadette.
Dolly Alderton - Amazon £7.99
Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humour, Dolly Alderton's powerful début weaves together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age.
Liane Moriarty - Amazon £5.75
From the author of Big Little Lies comes a cocktail of friendship and modern love - spiked with a little deception.
Dawn O'Porter - Amazon £6.47
This Sunday Times Bestseller is fearlessly frank and funny. Tara, Cam and Stella are very different women. Yet in a society that sets the agenda, there’s something about being a woman that ties invisible bonds.
Caroline Kepnes - Amazon £7.99
A chilling account of unrelenting, terrifying deceit, perversely clever and dangerously twisted.
I'm aiming to read all of these throughout the holidays, so I'll keep you updated on how it goes! Many thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions - personal recommendations are always the best. And I may also relive my youth and read Riders for the tenth time, just to remind myself of Rupert Campbell Blacks thighs. Everyone loves a literary bad boy. Bring on the summer reading!