7 Reasons You Should Choose Your Holiday Read Carefully
There’s so much to think about when choosing your holiday read and so much can go wrong. Here are seven reasons that you should do it carefully.
1. The Cover. People say you should never judge a book by its cover. But they do. Which is why everyone who sees your choice of book will automatically form an opinion of you. And it will probably be the wrong opinion. Take Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange for example. The Penguin Modern Classic version depicts a glass of milk. If I see someone reading a book that has a cover featuring milk I immediately think, ‘Cows. The reader likes cows’. They probably don’t. In fact, had I asked them, they would have probably shrugged with indifference. But that’s the peril of the book cover. To me, that person will always be a cow lover.
2. Trilogies. These are a big no-no. No one reads more than one book on holiday, so never start on a series that is going to take you a further two holidays to finish. By the time the second holiday comes around you’ll have forgotten what happened in the first book. This means you’ll have to read it again, only for the process to repeat itself on the next holiday. Basically, you’ll spend the rest of your life holidaying with the same book. And you’ll never find out who kills who or what the wizard said to the pixie or why the girl next door is so addicted to sex with vampires.
3. Love. Lots of people meet the love of their lives (or their night) on holiday. The last thing you need – having plucked up the courage and charmed a beautiful lady at the bar – is for her to come back to your suite and see your copy of How To Talk Women Into Bed resting on your pillow. That kind of behaviour is strictly frowned upon by the fairer sex. Apparently.
4. Language. When you take a book abroad, it’s disrespectful to your hosts to read an English translation of a book originally written in their language. In Barcelona, several people were upset to see me reading a translation of Lorca’s Yerma, but that was nothing compared to the reaction of Berliners to my English version of Mein Kampf. Never read a translated work. They were livid.
5. Practicality. The Da Vinci Code is the ideal book to take on holiday. If the weather takes a turn for the worse you can use it as kindling; if you spill your drink on the table, it’s quite absorbent; if you need to hold a door in your villa open, you can fashion a papier-mache doorstop from it; if you find that people are trying to engage you in conversation, you can pretend to read it (they’ll soon leave you alone). There’s almost nothing that this versatile book can’t be used for. Except as reading material, obviously. That would be stupid.
6. The Lord Of The Flies. If you have teenage children, do not take this book on your island-break with you. Okay, so it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll put down their iPods and PSPs for long enough to read it, but if they do, they may descend into savagery before you know it. And savages do not make relaxing holiday companions. As anyone that has vacationed in Ayia Napa will testify.
7. Airports. A copy of Frank Barnaby’s How to Build A Nuclear Bomb and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction would be a particularly poor choice of holiday read. It’s sobering, serious and thought-provoking; none of the things that are conducive to the holiday mood as you attempt to relax and get away from it all in your detention cell at Heathrow Airport.