Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Read on Holiday

Another great topic from That Artsy Reader Girl that combines reading and travel.

Though I will readily admit the practical advantages of Kindle, I remain old-fashioned and always prefer to take a physical book with me, even if it occupies valuable luggage space. Quite a lot of space at times: looking at the list, I really tend to go for massive door stoppers when it comes to a long overseas holiday.

1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
A near-perfect marriage of book and location: I read this mammoth novel about an Australian fugitive making a new life in Mumbai while on a trip in India, exploring Rajasthan. I really felt that the book enriched the holiday experience, and vice versa.

2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
An ambitious and challenging centuries-spanning epic is hardly your typical holiday read, but I took it on my two-week Vietnam trip quite purposefully. I figured that it would last me much longer than some easy breezy book I would have to lug around after I was done with it.

3. This Charming Man by Marian Keyes
I read this one while on a cruise of Australia’s Kimberley coast. It belonged to the ship’s library and made for a perfect light holiday read.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
This one was actually a re-read while on a tour in Eastern Europe; I think I bought a copy while browsing a book store either in Prague or Krakow. I remember enjoying it much better second time around, after finding it overlong and overstuffed on the initial read.

My strongest memory of the book is trying to read it in the van just outside Auschwitz in Poland, waiting for the rest of my group to come back from the guided tour I decided to skip. Just being so close to the place where so much evil and horror had happened was harrowing enough for me.

5. The Stand by Stephen King
I picked it up at a book exchange in a hotel, on one of my USA travels. I don’t think I actually got to finish it on the trip, but then this dark post-apocalyptic fantasy does go on for over 1,000 pages.

6. The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie 
I often end up taking a Christie mystery on a short weekend getaway, such as the trip to the Phillip Island earlier this year.

7. The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
I read the final adventure of D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers as a teenager on a family holiday in Crimea, before we moved to Australia. This one stuck in my memory after nearly thirty years because I found out that nearly all of my beloved heroes die in this book! Oh how devastated I was.

8. Collected Short Stories Volume 2 by W. Somerset Maugham (holiday read that never was)
I was supposed to read this compilation on my most recent Europe trip, but then I somehow managed to leave it behind at the Melbourne Airport without reading a page. Funnily enough I can’t recall which book I ended up buying and reading instead, but I can still remember kicking myself, since I loved Maugham’s Volume 1 and really looked forward to more of his short stories.

9. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
A last-minute purchase at the airport when I forgot to bring a book on a holiday in Tasmania. You can’t go wrong with Liane Moriarty if you want some fun holiday reading.

10. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
I very rarely read serious non-fiction on holidays, but Bryson’s writing is just so engaging and accessible that I’ll read anything including popular science.

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