Tag Archives: Summer Reads

Airport Books & Holiday Reads…

As it is the summer in the UK, not that you would really know from the weather we are having, talk here there and everywhere in the bookish world has been of ‘summer reads’ and ‘holiday books’. Just yesterday BBC’s Woman’s Hour did a feature on it which was rather interesting and you can listen to hear. I digress. I have been thinking of summer reads a lot recently, and if I read differently at this time of year which I don’t think I do. Having just come back from an amazing break away I took my usual fare of books with me, some of them just happened to be set where I was staying and some had to be gripping to take me away from the induced fear of being on the plane for several hours of torture for me and anyone who flies with me.

I don’t like flying at all, oddly though I do really like airports. In the hours, generally filled with fear and nail biting, awaiting getting on the tin can that will fly me 35,000 (or more, which just isn’t what humans were meant to do) above the ground to some delightful destination I wander the shops to keep me occupied. You try out aftershaves/perfumes you would never normally by, have a coffee or two and of course hit the bookshops.

I had a good browse and didn’t really find anything that was particularly up my street, but not because there was only ‘holiday reads’ as I have heard many people complain, I thought it was nicely varied I was just under the watchful eyes of The Beard who had only a few hours before been rolling said eyes as I popped the fourth book in my case and two in my hand luggage for the flight there. Only people who really love books can understand why you need to take so many away with you, even on one of those dreaded ‘K’ machines. Mind you, I did feel very smug, whilst also sweating with terror, when the plane back from Italy had to wait in the middle of the airport as it was delayed (due to bad weather in the UK which led to turbulence, vile) and everyone who had a Kindle/e-reader had to turn them off. I proceeded to very loudly turn the pages of Mary Beard, smuggity-smug.

So I thought I would ask you if you all read differently over the summer than you do the rest of the year? I don’t think I do apart from the fact I wouldn’t really read a ghost story, they seem more appropriate for long blustery dark nights, oh hang on we have those in the UK at the moment so it’s fine. What are your thoughts on ‘holiday reads’? What gems of books have you discovered at an airport book shop? Do let me know, I will be catching up on comments and blogs today so will respond very quickly which I have been lax with of late. I will also be reporting on the trip away soon, where shock horror… I did no reading really!

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Recommended Reading, My Books of 2011 So Far…

Can you believe we are halfway through 2011 already? I have more thoughts on all that coming later on today. Why is it that knowing you are halfway through a year makes you think about everything more? Like I said, more on that later today. In the meantime I thought I would give you a list of my books of the year so far. There have been more than ten in my ‘Books of 2011’ category, some have grown on me, some faded over time and some like the marvellous new Ali Smith novel ‘There But For The’ still need a little time to settle on me as do about six books I have read recently and have still only done small notes on pre-review. Getting back to the point without further ado, here are my favourite reads of 2011 so far…

  1. The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall
  2. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
  3. Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  4. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  5. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
  6. Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson
  7. The Mermaid’s Singing by Val McDermid
  8. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
  9. Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
  10. Before I Go To Sleep by  SJ Watson

I wonder if these will still be some of my favourites by the end of the year. There are a few contenders that I haven’t put reviews up on the blog, in fact ‘Swamplandia!’ by Karen Russell which I read ages ago, but haven’t reviewed yet could be a contender. Of course my end of year favourites allow me to cheat a little more, I have ten released in the year and ten released before, this mid-way post is more of a merge.

It is of course now pretty much summer time, and so you could really say that really this is my list of summer reading recommendations, should you be in the need of any. What are your favourite books of the year so far? What would you recommend I get reading over the summer months?

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Those Summer Reads…

I mentioned on my bookish bits last week that I was planning on having a ‘Summer Reads Season’ and what time could be better than when I am away myself on a shortish summer break (longer one coming next month). Ahead this week you can expect to hear from publishers, authors and bloggers regarding favourite reads and what delights they have been saving for summer. The newspapers will be going crazy over this in a few weeks (I always read those seasonal lists) and so I thought ‘why don’t I too?’ But for today lets just look at summer reads as a genre shall we?

Two things made me think of what summer reading as a subject, if I did any – which I have now noted I do, for a post which then became a week long jaunt. One was a post Lija of A Writer’s Pet made which really got my mind whirring. The other was that I was already having to look at what books I had read that were my idea of a perfect summer read for something which launches tomorrow (I am shrouding it in mystery to build up the anticipation, ha) and I came up with this delectable eight of which I have had  to whittle down from.

I was going to list them but then the post might be never ending, if you want a list though let me know! Anyway, I never thought that I was someone who subscribed to the idea of summer reading; in fact I thought I read the same things all year round. When I looked into it though from what I read last year I noticed I do actually read a little seasonally. These books initially look like they have nothing in common but the more I thought about it the more as a group they sum up my summer mentality…

  • They are all well written and yet not hard or oppressive (crime doesn’t have to be dark just have some shades) nor are they froth
  • They each have big themes but never make them depressing
  • They have a slightly magical touch to them even if they aren’t surreal (it makes sense in my head to me if it doesn’t to anyone else)
  • They are books you could languish in no matter the genre
  • They are books you want to rave about to people
  • There is generally sunshine in them to my memory, be it the place, the season it’s written about or just a sort of jovial summery prose (even the war time ones)
  • They are literary yet punchy/paced too
  • None of them is trashy

Not all of them tick all those criteria but each one hits at least four or more… So I guess that must be my criteria for a good summer read from me. Weirdly I could probably sum up an autumnal gem for me far easier than I could a summer. I have also noticed that none of them are particularly long, even though one that looks like it might be.

Interestingly when I looked at what was on my current bedside it seems the ridiculously humid London heat of the last few weeks has started to have a summery effect on my reading subconscious already as I have these lined up and ready to go by the bedside.

I think they all fit with my summer bullet points don’t you? So do you read seasonally? What criteria can you list for me that you need from your summer reads? Don’t give any recommendations yet, save yourself for next week when it all goes recommendation mad! Hope you’re looking forward to it?

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