Holiday Reads

Do your reading habits change on holiday?

During the busy week I try and read as much as possible. These tend to be quick reads, something that will provide escapism and a story to pull me in but, crucially, can be put down and picked up again over a couple of nights, time permitting. Of course, when I stumble upon a cracker of a tale I don’t want to put the book, or kindle, down and that is a joy indeed .

Now, holidays are altogether an entirely different matter. Pre-kindle, I used to spend ages picking about 10 books for a two week holiday and then tucked them into my case, sacrificing shoe space for the greater good. My reading tastes are pretty eclectic and I’d pack a selection of best-sellers, which I’d power through at the rate of one a day. Then, bereft, I’d have to get through the last few days of the holiday sans reading material. (Actually, this how I started writing twenty years ago but that’s another story for a different day.)

Sheer joy, and I wish this happened every time, is when you find a library in the hotel or apartment. I love the idea of holidaymakers enjoying a story and then leaving the book on the shelves for someone else to find. The advent of e-readers has reduced the number of physical books that people take on holiday with them, thereby reducing the number of new books that get left behind. I know my habits have changed. I didn’t pack any paperbacks on my last 10-day holiday, just popped my trusty kindle in my bag. I didn’t even bother downloading any books, knowing I’d easily connect to WIFI and download as I went along. But then we arrived at the apartment I found a nook stuffed with paperbacks. Hold me back and calm me down!

I love looking along a row of shelved books, eyeing up the spines, deciding who’s going to be my companion, whose world I’m going to inhabit for a little while. I was in the mood for something a little different than the usual crime capers; this frequently happens to me on holiday, that desire to try something new.

I started off with Celia Imrie’s “Not Quite Nice”. Filled with humour and sharply detailed characterisation this was a romp of a story that I fairly galloped through. Always a favourite actress of mine and now a loved author as well. Next up was AJ Carroll’s “The Shakespeare Secret”; a thriller, a puzzle and an adventure that didn’t let up.

Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton Chronicles was my third read. “Only Time Will Tell” was the start of this 7 book saga. I’d forgotten what a great storyteller Archer can be and devoured this book in a day. Late that night I downloaded Book Two in the series, “The Sins of the Father”, which I really enjoyed as well. Then I downloaded Book 3. That was several days ago and I haven’t got past the first 10% or so. Thankfully, I had resisted the temptation to buy all the books in the series. Strangely, the boxset was more expensive than buying the books individually.

Next up was Michael Korda’s “Queenie”, an old favourite that is a glamourous confection of a book. We’ve stayed at these apartments before and I am sure I first read the story of Queenie Kelley almost twenty years ago. I love picking up a book I’ve read before, where I have a foggy idea of the story but don’t remember the detail and nuances.

My holiday reading finished with Harlan Coben’s “Gone for Good”, which I loved. This is another author I used to read a lot of and yet seem to have drifted away from. This book got me firmly back on track with them.

My kindle is usually peppered with current tales from new authors but on that holiday I was re-introduced to some old favourites and met some new friends. That’s what reading is all about, I guess.

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