It is almost the Easter holidays and as we have a few days off we will be heading to Mendoza.
I am so looking forward to it. Mendoza is in the west of Argentina at the base of the Andes and is best know for its wineries. While there, when not enjoying sipping wine with the mountains in the distance, I intend to spend a fair bit of time reading.
I love reading when I am off work. It is such a luxury to mooch around, drink lots of tea and coffee and devote long stretches of time to a book.
There are so many great holiday reads I struggled to narrow it down to five, but here they are…
+ Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
I wish I read this on holiday because I would have loved to have given it my undivided attention. Instead I read it commuting. I can still remember finishing it while on the tube and actually crying in public.
This book opens in the last days of the second world war as the atomic bomb is about to fall on Nagasaki, from there we follow the history of two families. Their two stories included love stories and political conflict and overlap across different generations and different countries. This book is ambitious in its scope but it doesn’t fail at what it is trying to achieve. The author is able to wind these two histories together so well and is is a seriously good read.
+ City of Theives by David Bennioff
This book is actually something of a running joke in our family because my brother in law has taken it on his holidays so many times and has never managed to finish it. The rest of us did however and loved it.
City of Thieves follows Lev a young Russian thrown in jail for looting and his cellmate Kolya during the Nazi blockade of Leningrad in WWII. They are both given a get out of jail free pass on the condition that they can obtain a dozen eggs for a high ranking Soviet to use in his daughter’s wedding cake.
Eggs are not easy to come by in war time Russia but in order to spare their lives they attempt the challenge thus embarking on a treacherous search against the clock in blockaded Leningrad. This book covers some pretty heavy themes and is set in a dark time in history yet manages to have humour to it.
+ Bel Canto by Ann Patchet
Bel Canto will grip you and that makes it an excellent holiday read in my opinion. It begins at a dinner party at the Vice President’s residence in an unnamed South American country, where there are diplomats gathered along with an Opera singer and band. The evening quickly turns bad when 18 terrorists enter the residence and hold the dinner guests captive.
As the evening goes on we learn more about the hostages and the terrorists and we are learn that they are not so different. As the night stretches on it becomes clear that something has to give and it is that anticipation of not knowing what will happen that keeps you turning the page.
+ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Maybe you are one of the few that still hasn’t read Gone Girl or seen the film (I was). It certainly has its critics and while I am not saying it is a literary masterpiece, you cannot take away from this book the fact that it is a page turner and a really engaging read. Just what you need in a holiday read. I took this book everywhere with me when I read it because I just couldn’t put it down.
It is written in a clever way in that there is a mini cliff hanger on the end of each chapter but the chapters alternate between two points of view. This meant I was racing through one chapter to get to the next to find out what happen. There is also a big twist in this book. I wont say any more, just read it.
+ No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCathy
This isn’t exactly a light read, it is pretty violent and while I am really not a fan of violence this book is so well written and riveting that it had me turning the pages into the wee hours of the night (note- I don’t recommend reading this alone late at night if you are a wimp like me.)
The story is set on the US- Texas border and begins when an unsuspecting local finds a large amount of cocaine and millions of dollars in a car surrounded by a number of dead bodyguards. He takes it all home with him and what follows is a world-wind of disorder and violence as the different parties connected to the drugs and the money try to track it down. This book is so cinematic you really feel as though you are watching a movie.
Do you have any reading recommendations for me?
Happy Holiday Reading!