Books To Take on Holiday… Help!

Excitingly I am off on holiday tomorrow to Cyprus for a week of sun, sea, sand, ruins, cocktails and much reading on sun loungers (if the weather is to be believed) or the balcony. I cannot wait, this is my first holiday ‘not doing anything’ in three years and the prospect of just reading, mooching about, paddling and swimming is a little bit too joyful. What isn’t joyful however is deciding what on earth to pack book-wise. As many of you will know I loathe my Kindle Fire with a passion (the glare, the lack of pages, etc, I have tried I really have) so books is the only way. After many painstaking hours I have come up with a shortlist, which is 21 books long and takes up the entirety of one case. So I need your help to whittle it down so I can actually fit some clothes in. Here are the choices…


  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • The Sellout – Paul Beatty
  • Black Water – Louise Doughty
  • The Danish Girl – David Ebershoff
  • The Fair Fight – Anna Freeman
  • Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller
  • The Girl in the Red Coat – Kate Hamer
  • The Ship – Antonia Honeywell
  • Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz
  • The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley
  • Human Acts – Han Kang
  • Disclaimer – Renee Knight
  • A Reunion of Ghosts – Judith Claire Mitchell
  • This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Illuminations – Andrew O’Hagan
  • Anatomy of a Soldier – Harry Parker
  • Merciless Gods – Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Good Liar – Nicholas Searle
  • Gold Flame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins
  • A Lovely Way To Burn – Louise Welsh
  • A Year of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman

So which of these have you read and, without giving any spoilers away, what did you make of them? I will then check your answers before I leave and pick seven, maybe 8 (as the flight is 5 hours each way, notice the excuses start creeping in) for the trip. Now I better sort out my pants and other attire, thanks in advance.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

19 responses to “Books To Take on Holiday… Help!

  1. Would recommend The Loney and Reunion of Ghosts. Heard good things about Red Coat but haven’t managed to read it yet myself. I’d leave Disclaimer behind.

  2. I don’t think I could bring myself to leave the new Maggie O’Farrell behind, so you’d better take that. Also The Versions of Us would make a good holiday read – it’s brilliant.

  3. Barbara

    Of the 4 I have read definitely take A Reunion of Ghosts. One of my faves of last year. Liked Moriarty a lot (am a Holmes fan) and regarding The Illuminations and Marvellous Ways I would chose the former.

  4. Kateg

    Have only read The Danish Girl and think it is trip worthy. Moriarty is on my TBR, I like the style of the first volume, but found I slow, so I am not sue it is a page turner for vacation. Enjoy the sun! Rest up!

  5. Irma Stok

    Disclaimer! It is really an eye-opener how something can totallyvchange someone’s life

  6. I love everything by Maggie O’Farrell (is that new???), but can’t speak to the others except I do want to read Gold Fame Citrus. Have a wonderful vacation!

  7. Ann

    Simon – I think you should just put on a blindfold and pick 1/2 of the books to pack so you have room for clothes. Don’t forget you will be doing sightseeing and there will be a bookstore or two there I’m sure that you can pick up something more to read if you run out.

  8. Kate

    Anatomy of a Soldier, Simon! I promise…it is unexpectedly tender and life affirming. Kate (the publicist, full disclosure 🙂

  9. alison

    What a dilemma! Of these I’ve read (and enjoyed) Girl in Red Coat, Versions of Us, and Our Endless Numbered Days. Disclaimer not so much. I’ve just started the Maggie O’Farrell – and great as I knew it would be. I’d go for a mix of light and dark, thriller and more ruminative but I would have a hard job narrowing this lot down. Extra baggage allowance?

  10. The Loney is great, but maybe best saved for a rainy day at home – it’s so bleak I can’t imagine reading it on a sunny beach! I’d strongly recommend A Reunion of Ghosts and The Good Liar, both of which I think would make great beach reads (in different ways). A Lovely Way to Burn is one of my favourite books of the last few years and so utterly gripping it’s perfect for reading in a single sitting. Have a fab time!

  11. I’d take The Girl in the Red Coat, Our Endless Numbered Days and A Year of Marvellous Ways – I read all three last year and thought they were excellent reads. You have to take the Maggie O’Farrell because it’s got a cover designed to travel… and then I’d also take the Christos Tsiolkias collection of short stories because it’s quite handy to have short stories when you’re travelling and he’s Greek-Australian, so you know, it’s almost like taking him home for a visit. Have a great holiday, whatever you decide to pack!

  12. I’ve heard wonderful things about The Illuminations and The Loney (which sadly isn’t available in the US yet…). I’d recommend leaving Moriarty behind. I really disliked it and put it down 3/4 through in favor of better books. I’ve thought of giving it a second chance, but can’t find the motivation.

    An alternate approach to book whittling is watching some packing videos on YouTube. There are ways to rolls shirts and pants into tiny little balls (without wrinkling them!). Clothes don’t need to take up much space in your bag. Safe travels! 🙂

  13. Your holiday sounds blissful – and you simply must take The Versions of Us with you! It’s a great read about choices with a Sliding Doors feel. I would also take the Maggie O’Farrell because it’s her 🙂
    Bon voyage!

  14. The only one I’ve read is Our Endless Numbered Days, which I really liked. I haven’t yet read Merciless Gods but I hope to do so very soon for my #ReadingAustralia2016 project. Hope you have a fab holiday; I’m plotting one myself for end of March/early April when I become officially jobless (again)

  15. tarynnicole

    Hi Simon,

    Versions of Us was my favorite book of last year and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Of your list I have also read Disclaimer and The Danish Girl and I much preferred Versions of Us to both of them. The only downside is that I found I had to stick a large post it note in the front of the book to keep track of the different “versions”. It is so good and perfect holiday reading.
    Enjoy your time away.

  16. Too late I know but I would definitely have taken Human Acts and Anatomy of a Soldier

  17. Andrew Cole

    I really liked ‘ The illuminations’ an interesting picture of family relations between son ,mother and grandmother. Disclaimer I also liked as a thriller with a different slant. I would definitely take Maggie o’farrell and can’t wait to get hold of it although sometimes I prefer to sit on a favourite authors book as once you’ve read it you then have to wait for the next one. I also have the loney ready to read but might wait until it’s a night when there’s no one in and the house is empty. Enjoy your holiday- I will be looking for the rest of your list.

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