Thursday, 19 June 2014

HELP! I'm having a holiday reading crisis!

So, Charlotte suggested that I do this, even though it'll probably cause chaos, but WHATEVER.  Basically, this is the shortlist (more like epiclist) of books I could take on holiday with me.  I leave in less than 48 hours.  In terms of bookish preparation I got as far as finishing Lisey's Story so I didn't have to take a 700-page library book with me, and I started Lamb by Christopher Moore this morning, but that's about it.  I've got a bit of everything in this heap, from girlie novels to thrillers to autobiographies to travel writing.  I'm not a huge fan of heavy-going books when I'm splashed out on a sunlounger getting slowly baked, so no hardcore classics or dense non-fiction, but... yeah.  Pretty much everything else is on here.  And I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO CHOOSE.

  • The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  • Penelope - Rebecca Harrington
  • Player One - Douglas Coupland
  • Strata - Terry Pratchett
  • Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
  • The Informers - Brett Easton Ellis
  • How I Became a Famous Novelist - Steve Hely
  • Submarine - Joe Dunthorne
  • Redshirts - John Scalzi
  • The Family Fang - Kevin Wilson
  • Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn: The Great British Holiday - Brian Viner
  • Narrowboat Dreams: A Journey North by England's Waterways - Steve Haywood
  • Dawn of the Dumb - Charlie Brooker
  • Hotel Babylon (reread) - Imogen Edwards-Jones and Anonymous
  • Dearly Devoted Dexter (Dexter #2) - Jeff Lindsay
  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (reread) - Rick Riordan
  • Grasshopper Jungle - Andrew Smith
  • The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta
  • Popular - Maya van Waganen
  • An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
  • Trouble - Non Pratt
  • Amy and Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
  • Boy Meets Boy - David Levithan
  • Going Vintage - Lindsey Leavitt
  • Beauty Queens - Libba Bray
  • Geek Girl - Holly Smale
  • The Wish List - Jane Costello
  • Losing It - Cora Carmack
  • The Runaway Princess - Hester Browne
  • Alex As Well - Alyssa Brugman
  • A Play on Words - Deric Longden
  • The Hit - Melvin Burgess
  • Project X - Jim Shephard
  • Berserk - Ally Kennen
  • Rubbernecker - Belinda Bauer
  • The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
  • Gravity - Tess Gerritsen
  • Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry
  • Easy - Tammara Webber
  • Hate List - Jennifer Brown
  • An Education - Lynn Barber
  • My Mad Fat Diary - Rae Earl
  • In Stitches - Dr. Nick Edwards
  • The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey
  • Lullaby (Watersong 2) - Amanda Hocking
  • Angelfall - Susan Ee
  • Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi

Somehow this looks even worse in a list than it does stacked in these two piles.  Oh dear.  On the other hand, one of the piles fell over and serendipitiously squashed this spider: -

- which I would never have even known was there otherwise, so... swings and roundabouts.  :)

OVER TO YOU, INTERNET.  If a book's going to make me sob, please tell me (spoiler free, obviously!) because I hate getting crying-headaches when I'm already a bit hot and bothered, so that might narrow it down a bit.  Do you have any rules or ideas on holiday reading to help me whittle the choices down further?  Any thoughts on which should make the cut?  I'm probably going to take about six, so... HELP!


  1. I always take chick lit with me on vacation, nothing else, so from your list I would say you must take the Jane Costello book and the Hester Browne book.

    1. Basically for me holidays have the same kind of reading vibe as readathons. Easy, page-turning, absorbing... Something that will pleasant to read even if I'm wedged in economy class on a plane, or lying on a sunlounger with the sun in my eyes, getting steadily hotter and hotter... You get the idea. :)

      I definitely think at least one all-out chick lit novel should be on the pile!

  2. So I've read none of these except 'how to become a famous novelist' so that's my rec, haha. It is a fun and easy read though, light hearted, no heavy drama. Good luck picking!

    1. Hmmmm. I've been hearing good things about that one for YEARS - I bought after Rebecca Schinsky recommended it, I think, back when she was still blogging - so that's a definite contender. Light-hearted is definitely good for poolside reading. :)

  3. Take Neverwhere!! And Geek Girl is fun, I just read it :-) Amy and Rogers Epic Detour is also super lovely and An Abundance of Katherines and if i were you I'd take the Cream Teas and Traffic Jams one cos it sounds cool !

    1. Gawd, this is so difficult! What makes it worse is that we're a tiny bit more unsure of the weather in Croatia in June than we were with Fuerteventura in September, so that means MORE clothes and therefore LESS books. It's so stressful leaving it to the last minute - but if I'd done it earlier I'd only have changed my mind and had a sudden whim to read something different. I AM TOO FICKLE, BEX.

  4. I'm pumping for The Wish List, Geek Girl, Amy and Roger, Trouble and Grasshopper Jungle (haven't read last two yet but heard they're brill) word of warning Pushing the Limits made me cry. The 5th Wave is ENGROSSING so only start it if you plan on doing nothing. Have a great holiday! :)

    1. EXCELLENT. Pushing the Limits is coming off the pile then, that's one down! I don't intend on doing much besides, y'know, quick dips in the pool every so often, so that's no problem. I think we have to go a tad further for snacks and drinks and stuff - not as much on-site as in Fuerteventura - but hopefully not TOO far because I had to walk to the pharmacy on the other side of the village this morning (for the first time - normally we go in the car), I missed a turning somewhere, took a VERY long and surprisingly hilly way round, and my hip's gone again. I think it might be time to resurrect the Flame Cane for the airport. :(

  5. OK I hated Losing It so I vote no for that. But I love, love, love the Geek Girl books so I vote for that. And An Abundance of Katherines was really good too. I've not read the Jane Costello one but have read and enjoyed others. Have a great trip!

    1. So that's a thumbs up for some of the fun girlie books then! There definitely needs to be one or two of those in my case this week. :)

  6. Oh, Ellie. Ellie, Ellie, Ellie. Your to-read piles make me smile. I don't think it'll surprise you that I'm going to say NEVERWHERE! and REDSHIRTS! (though beware, I made some very undignified snorting noises reading that on public transport last year.) Also An Abundance of Katherines, because Katherines are awesome and you'll be away when I'm in Ellie-town next week, and Going Vintage so you can tell me if it's worth reading or not. Boy Meets Boy is rather lovely too.

    Now I need to make a similar decision, although I expect I'll be picking up several books when I'm on holiday too.

    1. Why thank you! They make ME hyperventilate and Hanna want to hit me round the head with a blunt object, so we've got all bases covered between us! :P

      I still haven't chosen, but I've given myself a kind of mental deadline of noon today to get everything pretty much picked 'n' packed. Gives me time to shower and hopefully enjoy a bit of sunshine this afternoon before an early night, we're being picked up at 3am or something stupid so a few hours' sleep would be nice!

      ENJOY THE PEAK DISTRICT WHILE I'M AWAY. I hope it's sunnier and lovelier here than it's given to be in Rovinj for half of this week... :(

  7. The only one on that pile that I've read is Hate List. It didn't make me cry, but it is a bit dark-ish and heavy and I wouldn't want to read it on a summer vac so... yeah. I do suggest reading it, but maybe just not on this trip!

    Books I would choose (keeping in mind I haven't read them yet):
    Trouble, Geek Girl, Boy Meets Boy.
    Have a great holiday!

    1. Hate List's coming off the pile then... I definitely want to read it soon, but I've got plenty more to choose from for poolside reading! I think I'm going to try the 'gut instinct' approach next - do a fast-paced YES OR NO shuffle through all the books without thinking too much, see if I can narrow it down a bit more. Gawd I suck at this. :)

  8. Oh God, Ellie. HOW did you end up with this many!?

    Anyway, I'd go with: Percy Jackson and Going Vintage, as I haven't actually read many of the others!

    Short comment but I really want to get my opinion in before you leave!

    1. Because I sort of forgot we were going on holiday so soon and didn't start the book planning a month ahead of time? Also I have no decision-making skills and get very paranoid that I'm picking The Wrong Books and that I'll immediately want to read something else once I'm in a taxi on the way to the airport and can't do anything about it. I SUCK AT THIS, DUDE.

      I'm up early today - breakfasted and done by half six, woohoo - so if I can get all this done by noon, I'm spending this afternoon outside with a book. Since it's looking like I might be spending at least a couple of days this week INSIDE with a book while 'potential heavy or torrential showers' happen. Everything crossed that it stays away! :(

  9. That's a lot of books! I would take some easy books just because they're really quick to read! Good choices though. And gah that spider.. :/

    1. Definitely readathon rules, I think - easy to read, compelling enough to hold your interest, decent sized font for sunshine-bleary eyes. TO THE BOOK PILES! *dives in headfirst* *stops* *removes spider from carpet* (P.S. Don't worry, it's not as big as it looks on the picture. I just have an excellent zoom on my camera!)

  10. YEY! I looked at your list yesterday evening but I only finished work at 11.00 so HERE I AM! (I'm actually going to tell you that I've written this so that you don't miss it before you go!)

    I totally agree with Hanna on Percy Jackson - always an excellent choice for holiday reading. Also The 5th Wave is quite tense and would be just super for travelling with - I didn't love it *quite* as much as the internet promised me I would but it's still a gripper of a book so perfect for ignoring aeroplane noise.

    I like the idea of Going Vintage so I'm keen for you to read that so that you can tell me if it's good or not (because I like that I can rely on you all for that!)...same goes for Neverwhere, actually! Oh and obviously you can't go wrong with Terry Practchett. Sorted! ;)

    We should all do this every time we go on holiday!! If I forget to say before you go, HAVE AN AMAZING TIME! And take many pictures to persuade me that I have to go to Croatia.

    1. I will... as long as it isn't raining. It's definitely given some splishy splashy and a bit of cloud cover, which is a pain because I really don't want to do that 'trying to find things to do not on a sunlounger' thing all week. It's a 25-minute walk into town and my hip's gone again, so not something I want to do TOO many times. :(

      I still haven't actually picked out a single book. I mean, I've cut this heap by about a third, but that's removing choices, not making them. I've got three hours until my mental 'to pack by' deadline, then I'd like to be outside in the sunshine here for a while instead of running round like a headless chicken having a last-minute panic!

  11. Going Vintage is super light and easy. The 5th Wave is so gripping so will seem really short. Tess Gerritsen is great holiday reading!
    felt a bit meh about Boy Meets Boy and Submarine is a bit um, dunno what, but I'd strike it off.

    1. Okay, all but Boy Meets Boy are on the last little pile to choose from. I'm so bad at this, and I've given myself the most godawful headache today as well! OOOPS.

  12. I selfishly vote for Angelfall because I want to know if it's good. And I also vote for Neverwhere because that's one of my all-time favorite books for reading on vacation. I read it on nearly every vacation I ever go on.

    1. Neverwhere's still on the pile, Angelfall's toppled off it just because I've heard that if you like it you'll pretty much want to read on immediately. Nothing worse than having one of those moments on holiday when you can't get to the next book! I'll read it when I get back though. :)

  13. Ahaha the pile was big enough to squash that bug. I realize a single book could do it, but shhhh it's funny to think of it as a tower of potential spider-death.

    ANYWAY I'm glad Lamb has been started and thus OF COURSE will get to come. Good choice! Otherwise the only book in your stack I've read is the Famous Novelist one, which is a good vacation read. And entertaining enough that I was thinking of reading it again soon. So yeah, that's my other rec.

    1. Lamb's definitely coming, but DAMMIT I think I put the famous novelist one back on the 'to stay for later in the summer' pile. I'm not entirely sure because I was packing with a throbbing headache and still have a couple here for my hand luggage, but I THINK the final lineup is:

      ~ A Play on Words, for the laughs
      ~ The 5th Wave, for the unputdownableness
      ~ Lamb, because I'm reading it already
      ~ Geek Girl, because it looks easy
      ~ Percy Jackson and the LT, because I want to marathon the series this summer
      ~ Lullaby, because I read the first book LAST holiday
      ~ Dearly Devoted Dexter, because I'm marathonning that as well
      ~ Neverwhere, because everyone says so

      I'm going for a book a day-ish count wise, just because it's given rain a fair bit so there might be a lot of lying around with a book in the hotel room, wishing we magically knew Croatian so we could watch telly. I've downloaded some podcasts as well though!

    2. I hoped you watched some Croatian telly anyway. I love watching stuff that I have no idea what they're saying. But I do it alot for work, so maybe it's just ebcause I'm used to it!

    3. We didn't get too much rain in the end, so mostly we read, sat around in the bar playing cards, and worked our way through puzzle books when we got tired. We watched the BBC news channel a couple of times, but that was about it!

  14. My thoughts: I really want to read The Leftovers. My Mad Fat Diary is really funny and I don't think it made me cry. I really hated Submarine. Helpful? Do tell!

    1. I think The Leftovers will be up soon, maybe. My Mad Fat Diary does look funny, but it didn't make the cut in the end. And I'm dying to read Submarine, so I'm going to pretend I didn't read that bit!

      In the end I read about 150 pages of Lamb, all of Geek Girl and Lullaby, and started The 5th Wave, which is excellent so far. Not as much as I expected, but it was so hot that I spent some time in the pool, or working my way through a puzzle book, or listening to bookish podcasts instead. :)


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