With one teeeeeny problem. You see, I’m a reader. A big reader. And a scan reader too, so I finish the average paperback in a couple of hours, which is not overly helpful on a 16 day holiday. I don’t have an e-reader of any description and I honestly can’t imagine having one in the near future. That’s just not what books are to me. Books are dog-eared, slightly water damaged from being read in long, indulgent baths. Their spines are cracked, often giving away a readers favourite part of a tale. They have dedications, declarations of ownership. ‘THIS BUK IS THE POPARTY OF FREDDIE’ declares a 13 year old copy of The Hobbit belonging to my then 6 year old brother. Books have history. Holding a book in my hands is the only way I’ll read .
So I planned and I researched and I ended up with 14 books in total. 3 for Phil (but ones that I could very definitely read after him!) and 11 for me. Some were easy beach reads, there were 2 autobiographies, a couple from Richard and Judy’s book club (I’m an official dweeb, I know) a handful of unknowns and a classic I’d never read before. Half came from Waterstones (taking advantage of the 3 for 2 offer!) and the rest came from one of our local charity shops…£1 for 6 paperbacks? Why, yes please!
I thought I’d share a handful of my favourites with you, in the hope that you’ll give me some recommendations too! Anna and Clare have already widened my literary horizons and I’m desperate to have them stretched some more!
The Beach Reads
Cheesy. Cheesy, cheesy, awesomely cheesy goodness. A handful of stories spanning 30 years and the entire globe, with expensive dresses and private islands agogo. It’s unbelievably easy to read, you’ll need approximately 3% of your brain power to really understand it, but golly gosh it’s enjoyable.
Again, this is not taxing stuff. It’s sex, money, some more sex and the Oscars. Amazeballs. On a serious note, there’s a plot thread on Wuthering Heights running through the book, so that gave it a kick for me. Though, I shan’t lie, I’d have devoured it regardless. An easy, happy-go-lucky way to pass an afternoon in the African sunshine.
This was one of Phil’s books, I only even picked it up because I’d finished all of mine and we still had 3 days left of the holiday! Once I did pick it up though, I was hooked. Really and truly, I was obsessing about it. Bringing it up at dinner, starting indignant arguments about Bosnia and Sierra Leone and the MOD. I love a decent autobiography, mostly for the gossip if I’m honest. I love a life story with all the gory details. The Dannatt family story is an interesting and captivating one, certainly, I enjoyed reading about them very much. But it is General Sir Dannatt’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Army’s thoughts and theories and plans-both failed and successful-that really grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I’m in danger of reviewing this book in it’s entirety, so I’ll be succint. If you have any interest at all in the last 40 years of the British Army, read this book. I have learnt SO much. I love it when a book teaches me something about life, this does exactly that.
Do I really need to tell you why you should read this? Whatever you do, don’t start it when you have a lunch reservation in an hour and it takes you 45 minutes to get ready. Also, don’t read it without tissues. Or within eyesight of a very passionate German man who will tell you, over and over and over again, in pidgin English; that Nelson Mandela is a God. Not that he was wrong, he just kept.repeating.himself. Anyway, read the book. Please.
Authors and Books I hadn’t heard of before
‘Everyone has a book that makes their heart stop. This is mine, and if I know you at all, I think it might become yours’. The dedication in this book that was given to me by a very wonderful friend as a birthday gift. I started to read it with trepidation, my book that makes my heart stop is Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ and since I was 19, not a single word on any page of any book has come close to that one. I should have known better, of course she knows me. Allende writes mystically, beautifully, a little strangely at times. It has a similar quality to ‘The Shadow of the Wind’, in that it has gained an inexplicable charm through translation. If ever there was a book to drink in, devour slowly, it is this one.
Ok. So, I’ve lost the plot a little here. Pittacus Lore is not a real person-thanks be to goodness, what parent would call their child Pittacus?! The ‘About the Author’ page tells us that Pittacus Lore is an Elder of an alien race who has been entrusted with this story….weird, certainly. Childish, probably. Intriguing, definitely. I knew this was also a film (with Quinn from Glee and a kid who looks too much like my little brother for comfort) and a kids film, at that. But I was interested. If you read and loved the Twilight saga (yup, that’s me. I’m sorry, Anna. So sorry.) then I’d wager you’ll enjoy this.
There you go. I’m no literary snob, that’s for sure! I don’t think it’s worth being uppity about books-I don’t think I’ve ever not finished a novel and I’d like to think I’ve learnt something from every story I’ve read. Even if it’s not always a positive lesson. I learnt from ‘A Child Called It’ that the ‘true story/child abuse’ genre was the only one I could not embrace.
Oh, the classic I’d not read before? ‘Huckleberry Finn’. It rocked my socks.
Me in my favourite dress. I loves it.