When I’m heading off on a summer holiday the very first thing I pack is the pile of books I want to read. On a recent trip with my husband I was horrified to discover that the book he was taking with him was A Natural History of Latin. Now I am sure that this is a very worthy tome and he tells me that what he has read so far has been most interesting, but I believe that such a book should not be taken on a short stay at the beach. You need a very different sort of book for this type of holiday, one that can cope with many interruptions (after all our utterly gorgeous granddaughter was with us), one that can be nodded over when you’ve returned from sun and seawater, and one that is light, absorbing and fun. I did my very best to persuade him that something else would be infinitely better – I even offered to find a nice selection for him, but NO, I was told firmly that if he was going to read anything, it had to be the Latin book.
My favourite beach reading is a crime novel – a proper beginning, middle and end, plenty of action, yet I don’t need to concentrate too hard – pure escapism and enjoyment. Of course, a lot can depend on the length of the holiday – after a week of escapist literature, I’m usually ready to move on to something a little more challenging (one beach holiday in New Zealand was memorable for being hugely enriched by Richard Holmes’s superb biography of the poet Shelley – there is still sand in its pages to remind me). But I only truly feel a holiday has started when I open a good murder mystery, hear the waves lapping as I read, and feel my body and mind relax.
On this recent trip, my Dad lay happily on one couch reading his Scandi crime, my son chuckled over a very light-hearted travel book, my daughter had her chick-lit novel but, as I had known would be the case, A Natural History of Latin never emerged from the suitcase.
What do you think is the ideal book for a beach holiday? I’d love to hear your suggestions so please leave a comment.
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