How do you choose your summer reads, the books you buy especially to take away with you? I’m flying from Heathrow again in a few weeks and I was on the Heathrow Express website today booking tickets when this article on summer reading caught my eye. I love the idea that you can choose your summer reading in the 15 minutes it takes you to travel to Heathrow, and there are some great recommendations – including The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, which I’ve wanted to read for ages (I’m a huge fan of The Secret History).
One book I’ll definitely be taking with me (it’s a long flight – over 14 hours) – is The Guts by Roddy Doyle. It’s the sequel to The Commitments, which I loved (in fact I’ve read all his ‘grown-up’ novels and No 1 Son has read all his children’s ones). I’m a big fan of Irish novelists and on my recent trip to Dublin took several books by Irish authors with me including ones by Cecelia Ahern and Marian Keyes; the one I just couldn’t get in to at all though was A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing. I grew up with Irish grandparents, I’m very familiar with Irish dialect, but I couldn’t make head nor tail of it.
I do love the idea of reading books inspired by the places you’re travelling to, when you’re actually there. On this trip I’m going to Vietnam and Cambodia, so if anyone has got any recommendations (not Heart of Darkness, though) do let me know. Books like Alex Garland’s The Beach and William Sutcliffe’s Are You Experienced? inspired me to go travelling (although not to Thailand or India, yet).
Of course, some of the best summer reads are the ones you pick up at the airport, on a whim, because the cover catches your eye. One of the best books I’ve read all year is The Rosie Project, which I bought for my Norwegian cruise at the start of the year and then read cover to cover in between waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. It’s really the most eloquent, funny, romantic novel, set in Australia and New York, about a man with undiagnosed Asperger’s and his struggle to form a relationship. It’s so beautifully written it almost made me want to give up writing. I can’t recommend it highly enough.