Books, holiday, Reading
Comments 23

Help Me Pick My Holiday Read!

All booklovers will have experienced this at one time in their life (amongst others which I wrote about here): You’re heading off on holiday somewhere and obviously you have to take a book with you. But which book? It can’t be just any old book, it has to be the perfect holiday read. Or, do you not take one with you, and buy one when you reach your destination? But then you might not find one you like and blah blah blah. You know the drill.

I’m having this problem right now. As I prepare to start packing my bag to head overseas for a couple of weeks, I’m trying to figure out which book out of my TBR tower I should take with me. I have it narrowed down to a shortlist of six, but can’t decide which one I should go with. So I’m asking for opinions! Below are the six books, each with a note on why it’s on my shortlist; and if you want to know a bit more about the book, justclick on the title of the book it’ll take you through to Goodreads. I’ve put a poll at the bottom so you can vote (I’ve always wanted to do one of these), but feel free to leave some comments as well if you are particularly passionate about which book I should read (or feel free to suggest something entirely different!) (actually, please don’t suggest something completely different, I don’t need that kind of pressure).

THE SHORTLIST

9780141037486On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Why it’s on the shortlist: First because it’s a classic that I haven’t read, despite it having sat in my TBR tower for about 12 months. Secondly because it’s a little book that’s the perfect travel size. And finally because it’s about two guys going on a road trip of self discovery (or something like that); in that sense, this book seems kinda appropriate since I’ll be travelling overseas alone for the first time, and I might just “find myself” (or I might not) (realistically I’ll probably be found stuffing my face with French pastries).

Mr holmesMr Holmes by Mitch Cullin
Why it’s on the shortlist: Um, because Sherlock Holmes you guys. Need I say more? Also, it’s 1947, Sherlock Holmes is 93 and don’t you think it would be cool to see if that incredible mind has stood against Time? AND there’s a movie adaptation in which Sir Ian McKellen plays Mr Holmes; which is obviously perfect. Importantly, the book is under 300 pages, which is ideal for a holiday on which I will likely get very little reading done (because eating and sight seeing).

The Porcelain Thief by Huan Hsu
Why it’s on the shortlist: When I purchased this book, it was with the sole intention of it being my holiday read. To me the cover just looked like it was a holiday read sort of book. It’s about travelling too, with the author journeying through China to reconnect with centuries of his families history. When I’m in London, I plan on making a day trip to Essex to the village where my ancestors on my dad’s side lived before they came to Australia, some time around 1855. I’ve never been able to pin down the exact date of his departure from England, or his arrival in Australia so I’m hoping maybe I can do my own Sherlockian investigations on my day trip and find out. So it’s like I’m reconnecting with my family history too.

isbn9781444775846My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman
Why it’s on the shortlist: From what I can gather, this book is about a little girl who’s a little different to children her own age, and who goes on an adventure. Being completely real here – I’m like a kid 75% of the time, and I’m a bit different (or weird, whatever you want to call it), and I’m going on an adventure. And like the cover of The Porcelain Thief above, it just looks like a book that should be read while on holiday.

Nowhere else to runWhen There’s Nowhere Else To Run by Murray Middleton
Why it’s on the shortlist: There’s a couple of reasons for this. One: It’s a collection of short stories, which I think is good for being on holiday as I can read a story and then leave the book; then when I pick it up again I’m not trying to remember what happened last time I read (if it’s been a couple of days). Two: It was the winner of the Vogel Award this year, which is a literary prize that’s kind of a big deal here in Australia, and lots of people have raved about it so I’m basically guaranteed a decent read. Three: Most of the stories seem to revolve around people trying to lots of distance between themselves and their problems; while that’s not the purpose of my own holiday, there’s that whole travel thing, and I guess whenever we go away it’s nice to pretend that real life doesn’t exist, even if it’s just for a little while.

Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry
Why it’s on the shortlist: Aesthetics wise, I’d be more than happy for this to be the only book I looked at for two weeks. It’s so pretty. It’s also just over 300 pages (with large font), so I should be able to get through a lot in a short time. It’s also about magic and circuses, and reminds me a little bit of The Book of Speculation which I was head over heels in love with (I wrote about it here if you’re interested), so I think that bodes well for Church of Marvels.

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23 Comments

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  5. I vote for highly regarded short stories! That way you can dip in and out when you have some time without worrying about keeping track of a plot. 🙂

    I hope you have a lovely holiday! What’s your itinerary?

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    • That was my thinking as well. It’s just behind in the voting so hopefully a couple more people vote for it before the poll closes. I could get away with taking two books though – flights to anywhere from Australia take forever, so I could easily read one book per flight. But I love the little tv’s with the new movies. I’d be crazy not to take advantage of that.

      I haven’t got the exact details sorted out for my trip. I’m landing in Paris on August 17th, and going straight to Shakespeare and Company (a bookshop I really want to go to). Then I’m there for a week and I’ll go to the Louvre and a few other places. Then I’m catching the Eurostar to London the following weekend and then I’m there for a week. I’m going by myself so I can basically do what I want, when I want, so I haven’t made too many solid plans.

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    • Thanks for voting! I’m actually really looking forward to reading this, so I’m a little bit disappointed it hasn’t done better in the voting.
      I’m looking forward to seeing the movie as well. I think Ian McKellen would be a fantastic Sherlock.

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  7. I’ve read On the Road several times now, and you must read it at some point. It’s not exactly a “feel-good road trip book” though – there is much that is somewhat unsavory and depressing, but along with that is much amazing writing and many “great truths” I remember the first time I read it I didn’t like it that much, but later I read pretty much everything he wrote and revisited OtR many times. Good luck and safe travels!

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    • Last time I went on holiday I took a book that was about the Holocaust – so content isn’t really an issue for me 🙂 You’re not the first person to tell me they didn’t like it the first time around; I get the distinct impression that it needs to be read multiple times to “get it” (if that makes sense). It also seems to be one of those books that you take something new away from it with each reading.

      It looks like it won’t be my holiday read anyway as it’s not leading the voting. Which might be a good thing; that way I can sit and read it properly without too many long breaks between reading sessions.

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  9. Ohhh, I haven’t heard of hardly any of these (I know Jack Kerouac, of course, and have seen the trailer for Mr. Holmes), so thanks for the recommendations!

    I voted for The Porcelain Thief because I love to read books that line up a bit with wherever I’m visiting, and because pretty cover.

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    • Hahaha. ‘The Porcelain Thief’ caught my eye for that very reason – it sort of looks like a book that you’d read on holiday. I bought it with the sole intention of it being THE book I take on holiday with me, but it hasn’t really worked out that way.
      Aside from Kerouac and ‘Mr Holmes’, these are all really new releases so that might be why you haven’t heard of them. I think ‘The Porcelain Thief’ is the oldest released around April-ish. I’ve got high hopes for the book by Backman; I feel like it might be a little bit like ‘The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared’ (I don’t know if you’ve read that?).

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    • I wasn’t going to buy ‘Mr Holmes when I did – I was going to wait a little while. Buuuuut I had a gift card and they were giving away two-for-one passes to the movie when your purchased the book so that seemed like a good incentive to buy it 🙂 I think it’ll be really good.

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