Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Proper summer reading

The actual beach I intend to be sitting on with these books
I recently mocked a feature in the Observer, where lots of the sort of people who always get asked this kind of thing, told the paper all the boring, worthy and generally show-offy books that (they claimed) made up their holiday reading.

The piece is labelled 'best holiday reads' - but these books really aren't holiday reads at all. We all know that these select literati will leave those classics and economics tomes at home and pack the Dan Browns (or, for the more tasteful, P. G. Wodehouse) in a plain brown wrapper. Or, even better on a Kindle. So I thought it was time to come up with an honest holiday reading list.

Here are three books I've just bought to take with my to sunny France later in the summer:
  • Neal Stephenson: Reamde - because every holiday pile should include one book that's thick enough to act as a doorstop and/or to defend yourself against muggers and bag snatchers. And Stephenson is certainly good value for money - but also manages to entertain, and get the brain going at the same time.
  • Dave Gorman - America Unchained - because I love a humorous travel book as light reading. While I'm not sure anyone can equal Bill Bryson, I'm sure Mr Gorman will prove highly entertaining on his trip around the US.
  • James Runcie - The Perils of the Night - what could be more relaxing than a good British murder? And in this case it's set in Cambridge, so a double bonus. I've no idea if the books in this series are any good, I just picked it up off Waterstones' 'BOGOHP' table, but every holiday read should include one shot in the dark.
... what, you may, say, no popular science books? Well, no - I read about 40 popular science books a year, so for me it's time for a break. But that doesn't mean that they don't make great holiday reads for less regular popsci readers - so I'd be delighted if you called in at www.brianclegg.net to select some holiday fun (or even to rip me off as my Quantum Age is still 99p on Kindle) - but equally, should you want to confess to Mills and Boon or Agatha Christie, feel free. It's a holiday, after all!

So... what are yours? Honestly, now.

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