Happy World Book Day! There are plenty of events going on today to make sure kids keep reaching for the wordy, papery things – but why should they have all the fun? Today I’m taking a look at some of my favourite recent reads that could be perfect to take on your next holiday – whether you’re looking for travel or drama; action or weirdness. Or just all-out sarcasm…
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
Within the first couple of chapters of Life After Life, you can see the kind of existence (or more accurately, existences) that the protagonist, Ursula, is going to endure. This is a girl who’s destined to be born, die, and be born again, over and over, amidst wartime Britain. Each time Ursula meets her various ends, we’re taken back to revisit her birth and young life – every time with a slightly different string of events, as the fabric of society changes repeatedly around her. And every time, Ursula begins to feel the tiniest echoes of things that have gone before. There’s one hell of a story in here; a unique read that’s perfect to jump into by the pool.
Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s wonderfully weird take on human nature and evolution is one of my favourite holiday reads. It’s summery, it’s strange, and it hooks you from the start – right up to an even more bizarre finale. What might grab you most is just how ordinary the whole thing starts out, set on a holiday in the 1980s. The series of events to follow, both to the holidaymakers and to the wider world, soon become a deep look at what we are as a species – and how our big brains, in the words of the author, are the source of all our woes. It’s a cruise tale, it’s a dystopian yarn, and wonderfully weird mirror to human nature.
Following Fish – Samanth Subramanian
How about travelling the Indian coast while you’re sunning yourself in the Caribbean? Samanth Subramanian’s travels around India have been crammed in between the covers here in a collection of warm, enlightening essays that highlight the magnetism of Indian culture. Together, the essays create a fascinating look at the places, people and good eating along the Indian coast. The book charts the history and traditions of towns and cities and the people who live there, in lively language that proved absolutely addictive for me. Definitely a good holiday read if you’ve got an insatiable appetite for travel, and you love to learn more about the people who make up our world.
I Can Make You Hate – Charlie Brooker
Not the perfect title for a holiday read, you might say – but a book that’ll have you laughing in every single room and corridor in your ship. You’re probably familiar with Charlie Brooker’s brand of sarcastic broadcasting, whether from his Screen Wipe programmes and their various incarnations, or from the incredible Black Mirror dramas. His latest book, much like Dawn of the Dumb and Screen Burn before it, is a collection of his acerbic writings from his Guardian articles and TV appearances on everything and everyone that annoys him in modern culture. And when it comes to poking fun and inciting joyous misery as an antidote to all things grinning and gleaming, Brooker’s latest rants are hard-to-beat holiday reading.
Red Claw – Philip Palmer
If science fiction is more your thing, then Red Claw is a refreshingly informal read in relation to much of the genre. This is science-fictiony action adventure at its finest, and it comes with a twist too. Gone is the deathly seriousness that you might expect from a lot of high science fiction – this story turns a lot of the stereotypes right on their head, blurring boundaries between… well, everything. It’s got monsters, it’s got big guns, it’s got killer robots and alien forests full of plant life trying to kill everyone. The scientists give their new discoveries names like the Wiggly Worm and the Exploding Tree, and that’s just on the first page. The rest of the book takes the adventure and the silliness, and just runs with it. Red Claw is science fiction on holiday.
Have you already read one of these books? If so, let me know what you think in the comments below – and look out for more book reviews to come in every issue of Cruise Concierge magazine.
If you’ve got your next holiday read picked out but need a holiday booking to go with it, you can speak to our award-winning Cruise Concierge team free on 0808 1234 118 – whether you’d like to book, or even if you just have a question about cruise holidays.
Main image courtesy of Silvia Sala, Photopin/Flickr.