I’m in full planning mode for my holiday next month, I’ve written a packing list, more or less worked out an outfit for each day, and topped up my Kindle app with new books! For this holiday I’m going hand luggage only in a bid to save fifty quid! I’ve got the luxury of staying with a friend so I can use her washing machine half way through my stay to save on clothes packing, and ‘borrow’ some of her toiletries too. However using a backpack instead of a suitcase means I have to forgo taking any proper books with me, favouring digital ones instead. I took a long time to come round the idea of a Kindle when they were first released, sneering at people who used them! But over the years the ease, simplicity and sheer speed of getting hold of the next book on my ‘to read’ list overcame the feel of the pages of a book and I think 90% of the books I read are now digital! I still associate holidays with books though, I remember a flight to Greece with my mum and my whole backpack was full of books, so they didn’t send our suitcase over the weight limit. I have find memories of visit the hotel bookshelves, sifting through other holiday makers discarded novels for new reads, leaving my own finished ones in their place.
I plan to do a LOT of reading on this trip, I am child free so there will be no distractions (like making sure they don’t fall in the pool!) and Tel Aviv has a gorgeous beach to chill out on with a good book! Plus if I do a trip to the Dead Sea then I’ll have a coach trip to occupy myself on too, not to mention the flights there and back! I’ve been compiling my holiday reading list over the last few weeks and these are the books I plan to devour…
In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land. Abe and Hannah’s only child, Bit, is born into the commune soon after its creation. He grows up there, becoming deeply attached to Arcadia’s way of life and everyone within it, in particular the beautiful but troubled Helle. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. He needs to find a way to live in the world beyond Arcadia, but can he let go of the past to forge a new start?
Invisibles spans two cities by the sea and four decades of music, torture, and romance. From the streets of Brighton to the bars of Rio, Ed Siegle weaves the rhythms of Brazil and the troubles of his characters into an absorbing story of identity, love, and loss. Joel Burns has always believed his father is still alive. His mother Jackie has long been glad to know Gilberto is dead. When a sighting on a news report from Rio de Janeiro suggests Joel might be right, he travels to Brazil determined to find his long-lost father.
In this shattering and iconic American novel, PEN prize-winning writer, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation’s disquieting and violent contradictions.
After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.
On a weather-beaten island off the coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother, Nora, take refuge in the large, mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories. Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear–like who her real father was. Effie tells various versions of her life at college, where in fact she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom Klingons are as real as Spaniards and Germans.
But as mother and daughter spin their tales, strange things are happening around them. Is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog?
Wives of War – Soraya M Lane (Currently free on Amazon Unlimited)
London, 1944. Two young nurses meet at a train station with a common purpose: to join the war effort. Scarlet longs for the chance to find her missing fiancé, Thomas, and to prove to her family—and to herself—that she’s stronger than everybody thinks. Nursing is in Ellie’s blood, but her humble background is vastly different from Scarlet’s privileged upbringing. Though Ellie puts on a brave face, she’s just as nervous as Scarlet about what awaits them in France.
In Normandy, the two friends soon encounter the seemingly unflappable Lucy. Scarlet and Ellie are in awe of her courage and competence, but the experienced nurse is well aware of the dangers of the job they’ve chosen—and even she is terrified they won’t make it home alive.
Pushed to their limits by the brutality of a world at war, Scarlet, Ellie and Lucy will need to rely on each other—and the power of their friendship—to survive.
The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days – Juliet Conlin (Currently free on Amazon Unlimited)
Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…
His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.
A real mix of genres and styles there, and they’re all loaded onto my kindle (which I now only read on my phone using the app, as it saves having to cart more electronics around with me! I am a few chapters into Zadie Smiths Swing Time in paperback, so if I have any space in my bag I might pop that in for the beach, so I don’t have to get sand anywhere near my phone!
Opodo.co.uk recently did some research into the reading behaviour of Brits abroad– they found that 78% of holiday makers still prefer to read a paperback over anything else when they’re on holiday, even though now the EU data roaming charges have been abolished it makes it cheaper and easier to download things onto your kindle or phone! Apparently more than two thirds of holiday makers will read around 2 books on a holiday, and one in five will read as many as four books (which to me seems like nothing!) Half said they spend more time reading on holiday than at home with fiction taking up 45% and famous autobiographies 8%. You definitely wouldn’t catch me reading one of those!
I’d welcome any more suggestions of books to read that you’d recommend, my ‘to read’ list can never be too long!