Holiday reading highs and lows

As per usual I set off on my annual summer camping  holiday with a pile of books.  My camping companions were also similarly kitted out, and I was interested to see what they were reading .

Keith Richards LifeKeith Richards biography seemed a popular choice amongst the men, and the verdict from my friend Grant was that it was quick and easy to read, just the ticket for the beach holiday.

I was therefore surprised to see my camping neighbour Jude reading The Room by Emma Donoghue.  Not my idea of a nice light read for a relaxing holiday, but she declared that though not a Booker winner, it wasn’t nearly as torrid as she thought it might be, and gave it a tick.

I started off with the new Jane Smiley Private Life.  Big mistake.  All three camping companions read this book, but agreed that it could easily have been retitled ‘Boring life’.  I gave up and read the last pages to get an idea of what happened (nothing much).

Hand me down worldMy husband loyally read the Christmas present I gave him, the new Lloyd Jones Hand me down world.  He is usually a slow and ponderous reader but  finished it off in record time, so I’m presuming he enjoyed it.  He then moved on to To heaven by water by Justin Cartwright  and has declared it very good, and one that I might even enjoy!  (We usually read very different books, he goes for the slow stuff, big on description, low on dialogue, where I am the complete opposite, so I am a bit dubious).

Jonathan Franzen Freedom seemed to be a popular choice by all concerned, (although a bit heavy to hold while reclining on the beach) and the new Barbara Trapido, Sex and Stravinsky was also declared a hit.  I read The Rescue by Anita Shreve and then promptly wished that I hadn’t bothered, and then thankfully pounced upon Joyce Carol Oates, Little bird of heaven.  Although not the most cheerful of authors Oates has created two very compelling characters, and I was grateful to have last found something that I could actually get my teeth into.

What were your holiday reading highs and lows?

9 thoughts on “Holiday reading highs and lows

  1. Sally 28 January 2011 / 9:07 am

    Highs for me: Still Alice, by Lisa Genova, and The Seamstress, by Frances de Pontes Peebles.
    Lows: No Time to Wave Goodbye, by Jacquelyn Mitchard.

    • jane 28 January 2011 / 10:59 am

      Still alice sounds scary (early onset Dementia),perhaps too close for comfort being of a similar age? I enjoyed The Seamstress though.

  2. Donna 28 January 2011 / 9:28 am

    I shirked all the fiction I took home. My standout holiday read was Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in the void by Mary Roach. Covers all the bases of the stuff you’d really like to know about space travel – eating, mating, zero gravity, washing, vomiting, and what are the loos like.

    • jane 28 January 2011 / 11:00 am

      All the stuff you will need to know for your next space travel adventure Donna!

      • Donna 28 January 2011 / 12:28 pm

        Just call me Barbarella – ella – ella

    • Joyce 28 January 2011 / 12:32 pm

      A new Mary Roach!!! How could I not know that? Not as catchy a title as usual. Nothing will beat Stiff!!

  3. Marion 28 January 2011 / 2:00 pm

    How to watch a bird was a small but perfectly formed holiday highlight and I ventured into relatively unknown waters with Hicksville and loved it.

    • jane 28 January 2011 / 3:28 pm

      How to watch a bird was one of my christmas presents to a friend – I hope they enjoyed it as much as you did Marion

  4. robyn 29 January 2011 / 3:32 pm

    Highlights: Freedom by Jonathon Franzen, By Night fall by Michael Cunningham, Sunset Park by Paul Auster (all men – what’s happening to me)
    Didn’t bother finishing My Hollywood by Mona Simpson

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