June 26, 2011

Holiday Reads

Posted in Books at 11:18 pm by Paul Sagar

Although the act of writing still feels akin to dragging razorwire across my face, I’m OK with reading.

Next week I’m off to France for some serious Alpine cycling. But books are required for chill out periods. So I’m looking for recommendations.

In the travel bag already are:

- Doris Lessing: The Golden Notebook

- Thomas Hardy: Far From the Madding Crowd

- Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day

- Michael Frayn: Copenhagen

- Plus a bunch of Bernard Williams essays, and some post-Treatise Hume (it’s a pipedream paper that I’ll never write).

I would appreciate suggestions for intelligent but page-turning novels, and also some non-fiction. Indeed, if there is a book you think so good that I should read it before any of the above-listed, then certainly say so.

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  1. Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling said,

    I would like to suggest some David Icke.

  2. Paul Sagar said,

    Is David Icke still on shape-shifting lizards who control the human race via free-masonry? Or has he moved on to even more plausible theories?

  3. I’m reading Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance – v good.

  4. Ste For Sure said,

    how fast do you read?! is four books not enough for one holiday?

  5. Paul Sagar said,

    I read 7 last time, and I’m going away for 3 days longer this time. And I may not read them all. I need a variety, from which to choose.

  6. Ed said,

    David Foster Wallace – Consider the Lobster and other essays.
    Philipp Meyer: American Rust.

    which Wlliams stuff are you taking?

  7. Phil said,

    Have you read The Third Policeman? If not, that.

    Have you read any other Ishiguro? In terms of success & recognition his career is punctuated by TROTD, but formally I think the novel the others arrange themselves around (as pre- and post-) is his next book, The Unconsoled. It’s quite long and a lot of people hate it – I’d recommend reading the first chapter now, and seeing if what’s started happening by the end of the chapter freaks you out or puts you off. If not, you’ll want to read on.

    I’m currently reading the Rainbow, which is wonderful but quite put-downable – lots of long chapters in which not very dramatic things happen, but you feel exactly how they happen. If you’re going to have blocks of time to get lost in a book, something like that would work.

  8. You should be reading John Joseph’s “Evolution of a Cro-Magnon”. And you know I’m right.

  9. Adam Harper said,

    Thomas Mann – The Magic Mountain. The definitive alpine novel.

  10. Franlydie said,

    Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday. A very easy read, but highly entertaining.

  11. Torquil Macneil said,

    You need a kindle. Have you read Nabokov? Try Pnin if not and before that stodgy lot. You will also love (I am completely certain) The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell.

  12. Rob said,

    The last thing I really enjoyed was Hilary Mantel’s A Change of Climate, which was powerfully unsentimental about human motivation without losing the ability to treat its characters humanely. Blood Meridian wasn’t bad, although it’s a bit ridiculous.

  13. grrl said,

    Instead of a suggestion for a holiday-read, I allow myslef to make a counter-suggestion (for a read during an Alpine cycling holiday in France): NO “Thomas Mann – The Magic Mountain”!
    I suppose Adam Harper suggested it as a “page turning holiday-read” just because the word “mountain” happens to be in the novel’s title?

  14. Katharine said,

    If you haven’t already read them, then my suggestions would be: The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. Both very compulsive. Also Anna Karenina and Middlemarch are both really fun reads that I’ve enjoyed while travelling.

  15. Nick said,

    Novels that are relatively short (easy to lug along) but engrossing, intelligent and worth your time include John Banville’s “The Book of Evidence”, David Mitchell’s “Black Swan Green”, and (this one violates the short requirement a bit) Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”. Nonfiction: Nicholson Baker’s “U and I: A True Story”, Terry Eagleton’s “The Gatekeeper”, and Alexander Waugh’s “Fathers and Sons”. David Eagleman’s 100-odd page “Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives” is hard to classify but substantive, excellent, and entertaining all at once.

  16. Grace said,

    Well, you’ve probably read it already, but I really enjoyed Steven Lukes’ “Power: A Radical View”. Have only read the first section of it, but I really liked (and am reading this summer) “Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley”, by John Gaventa.

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