Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are - Mason Cooley

The joy of a holiday is also the joy of another pile of books.  In your suitcase.  In your Kindle (or the like). 

Even at the airport, the draw of the bookshop is too much to resist.  It's an addiction.  But holiday books are not to be taken lightly.  Choosing the right book is almost as important as the holiday itself.  You must choose carefully and match the mood of the one with the other.

I did get it hopelessly wrong the one year.  I blame the fact that, for the first time ever, I was going on a last minute holiday.  Decided one day, travelled the next.  A friend and I were on our way to the Greek Island of Zakynthos (Zante) for a week at the very start of the season.  We were both tired and over-worked.  This would do just the trick.

And it did.  The beach was practically empty.  As were the streets, the restaurants and the one tour we took.  It was perfect for total relaxation.  Except for my book.  I'd recently started A Passage to India.  Not the lightest, most frivolous of books.  But one I'd meant to read for a time.  And knowing my predilection to finish a work begun, I could not leave it behind.  Hence, it was thrown into my suitcase with the few items of clothing I thought I would need.  And off we went.

The trouble is that, when you're sunning yourself on a beautiful beach, the last thing your over-worked head needs is to have to work.  You need to match the mood of the moment.  And my moods were in opposition.  A Passage to India was not promoting a beach head.  It was a miserable situation.  All the more so as my friend had thought this out beautifully and was basking in her books.  But she's a generous soul and on that beach I was introduced to Georgette Heyer.  Previously totally and utterly unknown to me.  I was led to her through The Convenient Marriage.  With very little effort, I would go back to her for more. 

GH recreated the regency world with ease and decorum.  With humour and passion.  And, of course, with romance.  Oozes of romance.  Indeed, the best holiday romance ever.  April Lady.  Sylvester.  The Grand Sophy.  The Reluctant Widow.  Such lively, elegant and gentlemanly heroes.  Sigh.  I need to get on a beach.

But my holiday reads are not limited to GH.  As I say, options are needed depending on where I am and what I'm doing.  So I stock up on different authors in anticipation of my different needs:  John Grisham,  Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Coe. Sue Townsend and the formidable Adrian Mole, recently revisited and joyfully regained. 

I call them my trashy holiday reads.  But it's affectionate.  Methinks my holidays would be trashy without them... 

1 comment:

  1. When I had severe depression I think there were three things that kept me remotely sane: walking in the countryside, just putting one foot in front of the other was an achievement; my horse; reading. Reading was the escape I needed without having to look to the bottom of a bottle. I often think I should write a thankyou letter to some of the authors who unwittingly helped me so much. I wonder if they realise how powerful some of their work is?