Lying on the beach and getting lost in a good book is an essential element of a great holiday. While some people buy their books in a rush as they are going through the airport’s duty free, we like to read reviews and pick out the best stories to accompany the perfect holiday.
Here’s a countdown of 10 books that we think you should consider packing for your next beach getaway:
Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud
Esther Freud draws on her unconventional childhood for inspiration in this autobiographical novel. The book follows a young mother and her two daughters as they travel to Marrakech in the 1960s. While Julia is living the dream, her daughters rebel as they yearn for the normality of English life. Perfect for those of you who love reading about new places and their cultures.
When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman
This is the story of Eleanor Maud (Elly), and the book is named after her rabbit, who is unusually named “God”. This enchanting story follows Elly from her childhood life growing up in Essex, to Cornwall and finally crosses the Atlantic to New York City. While the book focuses on Elly and her brother, plenty of interesting characters come into the fold along the way, which makes this an engaging, sweet and uplifting read.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
This classic book is a perfect holiday read. Unlike a lot of classics, this story is interesting and accessible even in a contemporary setting.
Set in 1920’s New York, the book has been described as a cautionary tale about the “American Dream”, exploring themes such as decadence, idealism and resistance to change. It’s quite a short book, so it’s perfect for devouring on a long haul flight.
Yes Man – Danny Wallace
If you fancy taking a funny book on holiday, then consider Danny Wallace. He is a fantastic writer with a host of witty observations and anecdotes.
“Yes Man” is a memoir that covers a year of his life – when he decides to say yes to everything. That includes credit card junk mail, meetings with high flying media executives and even a convention for those who believe aliens built the pyramids! Even though he gets thrown into the odd sticky situation, he learns and grows to be a more open person along the way. It’s a fantastic light holiday read.
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
Chocolat is about single mother Vianne Rocher and her idea to open a chocolate shop in the little French town of Lansquenet. Opening just in time for lent, the new arrival is met with disdain from the curé of the parish and a community bound by tradition.
Gradually, the village opens up to Vianne and her radical ways, and its inhabitants are all the better for it. However, things come to a head during the Easter celebrations, when the community has to learn to balance the old traditions with new temptations.
A Spot of Bother – Mark Haddon
The follow up to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon is just as good as its predecessor, which also explores mental health issues from the viewpoint of the patients themselves.
This book tells the story of George Hall, a hypochondriac who is also suffering from the early stages of dementia. It tells an intriguing story about him and his family, which includes his wife Jean, son Jamie and daughter Katie, who all have relationship problems of their own. It’s a very funny book and if you liked “Curious Incident”, you’ll love this.
Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes
Everyone loves a bit of chick-lit from time to time, and there’s no better time to indulge in a girly book than when you are lazing on a sun lounger!
Marian Keyes is one of the best chick-lit authors writing today, and you can’t really go wrong with any of her books. However, our personal favourite is “Rachel’s Holiday”, which tells the story of a woman battling with drug addiction. It draws on the author’s own experiences from her stay in rehab, so it offers an enlightening insight into this world. Even though the subject matter is a little bleak, it’s a funny and wise book that will leave you feeling elated.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
This fantastic book has simply snowballed in popularity over the past couple of years, and it’s not difficult to see why. Even though it was originally marketed as a children’s book, its plot is so fast-moving and gripping that both young and old will be hooked until the final page.
Katniss Everdeen is left fighting for her life in the Hunger Games – an annual sporting event where two “tributes” from every district in Panem are thrown into an arena for a fight to the death. In showing kindness and affection to some of her fellow tributes, Katniss doesn’t realise that she has sparked the beginnings of a revolution that will change her home forever.
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Loosely based on the author’s own experiences, this book tells the story of a convicted bank robber, Lindsey, who escapes from an Australian prison and flees to Mumbai, India. It’s a vivid depiction of life in the Mumbai slums, and this is a fantastic book that delivers both joyful and harrowing moments. A great read.
The Tenth Circle – Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult, like Marian Keyes, is also a great chick-lit writer, but her work tends to be a little darker than your average girly fare. This book is about a father who struggles to come to terms with the issues that his daughter has with her ex-boyfriend. Drawing heavily on the famous poem Dante’s Inferno, this is a great work about father/daughter relationships.
Which books are you planning to take in your suitcase this summer? Tell us in the comments!