Friday, 18 January 2013

What I read on my hols

Considering how much I love the written word, it's only when I'm on holiday that I indulge my passion as much as I would like. At home, life always seems to get in the way of just sitting down with a good book.  So times away are always preceded by the relatively careful selection and storing of titles that I want to spend time with. A typical two week break would mean about seven books and, thanks to the Kindle, any problems with bulk and weight are a thing of the past.

Here's a list of the books that kept me entertained in Mexico.

The Uninvited (Liz Jensen): a novel with a plot which brought to mind The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. But with an environmental message. 7/10.

Traveller of the Century (Andres Neuman): a 'serious' novel set in a town somewhere in Germany around 1840.  A mixture of philosophy, literature, history, religion, surrealism, politics and some lust.  It was a book that needed the total immersion of a holiday to really get into it. 9/10.

The Lewis Man (Peter May): a detective story set on the Isle of Harris.  A good read with some great local colour.  8/10.

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure (Artemis Cooper): I'd read a couple of travel books by Leigh Fermor and had enjoyed them. Disappointingly this book revealed that much of what he wrote was a fabrication.  He was a very colourful character and had an interesting war in Crete but he wasn't a person I'd want to spend any time with.  I didn't think it was particularly well written. 6/10.

The Russian Revolution: History in an hour; Ancient Egypt: History in an hour; World War One: History in an hour:  Three titles from the History in an Hour series which I got at a bargain price from Amazon.  I think they took 45 minutes each rather than the stated hour. Obviously they could only sketch a superficial picture of the subject matter but I found them well written and a very useful overview of some facts I'd forgotten. 7/10.

Occupation Diaries (Raja Shehadeh): written by a Palestinian writer living in Ramallah.  A record of the trials and tribulations of someone who confronts the reality of the Israeli controls on a daily basis. A book to make the reader angry. 9/10.

Not a real dud amongst them. Now why can't I read as much at home? Quite simply because I just don't have 6 hours a day free.

Oops, nearly forgot to mention that I could get the Guardian sent to my Kindle each day. A free trial 14 day subscription which fitted in rather well.

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