How long is a summer holiday?

Here I have to admit that the summer holidays always have me reaching for my purse and spending on some books, new or second hand, that I will read. The benefit of being a teacher is that I always get 6 weeks off to read (house work, well, that's not absolutely necessary, is it?) Of course, in these days of children it is a little more problematic with desperate voices crying "I want my tea, Mummy!" but that's what God invented crisps for, the ultimate serve yourself food. And the older they get the more likely they are to sit and read too. Time and money spent on books is never wasted.

My list this year is, I regret to say, longer than I anticipated. For the past couple of months I have been reading the blurb on the back of books, the reviews in the papers and looking at other people's bookshelves to see what I fancied and then looking out at shops (both full & charity) to find the right combination of brains, sex and sloppy romance to keep me reading this year. I think I now have my complete list; 12 (13, 14 or more) books that I will begin to read and keep going through until I finish. Wish me luck, folks, this may be a long haul.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Duh, first choice for every potterite who has been holding out for the last (!) book ever (and if you believe that you haven't read the last sentence. You just know it could be the first sentence of the next book in three years time when she feels the need for Harry or money.) Got it on Friday, half way through already & I have spoken to my DH as well (Yes, I did say something to him last night. I think it was "This is a really exciting bit; don't interrupt.")

2. The House at Riverton.
A Richard & Judy summer read. I don't watch the programme, but I generally find their book choices are really readable, not too highbrow nor too 'trash appeal' for me (No, Jordan's latest bonkbuster is not on this list.) This one promises me a mystery and a love story & goes from 1924 to the present. Could be good.

3. Getting rid of Matthew
Ditto R&J read. Sounded like fun, so it fell into my basket.

4. The Book Thief
I have wanted to read this ever since I picked it up in hardback & I have looked out for the paperback. A little girl, the holocaust, a book thief, and the author uses Death as a narrator. I don't know if I will like it as much as I hope too (disappointed expectations are all too common) but Oh! If it could be my magical read this summer, I would love it. You know, that book that captures the feel of a season even if content, etc are nothing to do with your life. I have very few magical books, but when a book makes it to my list, it's there for life.

5. The Thirteenth Apostle
I like a bit of heresy now and again. This book was written by an ex-lay brother of a monastic order who has 'issues' with the Catholic church (Who doesn't? But that's another and more private story. Suffice to say that I liked John Paul II and the rottweiler leaves me cold) so a new book promising me secrets that will shake the foundations of the church always makes me laugh. What secrets can there be left? I'll read this & find out, then put it away & get on with life.

6. Bad Food Britain
When did we lose our food culture? Probably when we started believing the rumours circulated by other countries that we were not very good cooks. Not fancy, yes; not pretentious, yes, but we were good at what we liked and that, after all is what food should be; a pleasure. I'll read this book and find out whether she agrees with the neo-organics or locavores as I've heard them called who try not to shop at supermarkets. Like the idea, never have mastered the practice.

7. Trains and Buttered Toast
A volume of Betjeman's essays. I have never read any of his prose, only his poetry but it appealed to me for pure nostalgia and may well be read as I imbibe fresh darjeeling and thinly sliced fingers of toast. Or perhaps just as I scoff a giant bag of Doritos. I have class.

8. Big Babies
A polemic on the state of modern adults. We want it all and we want it now...

9. A Hopeless Romantic
Pure cheap chick lit. The M&M's of my reading list. they look pretty but you know they won't do me any good.

10. The School For Husbands
Ditto chick lit that cries out for a decent bottle of red wine and a night sans better half.

11. The Last Testament
We (DH and I) read this author's first book last year and enjoyed it. This is actually in His pile, but I know I will nick it when I need a rumbustious adventure that also threatens to 'shake the foundations' of something. Can't remember what, though.

12. Visibility
By the man who wrote 'Messiah', whose second book was as good, whose third book, 'Vodka' was good.... but different. Good thing or bad thing? I don't know, if authors try something different they can get slammed for altering the magic mix, but stay the same too long and people cry 'Formula!' (think Katie Price; two novels to her name and already she's found her magic formula. Was that the sound of a sick bag being passed around? Ladies, ladies, let us not impugne the literary skills of a ........ no, can't think of a word polite enough. As Ma always said if I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything. But if the government were really serious about falling standards they'd ban books like this) Back to Boris, a decent writer who has served his time & got in a few decent books along the way; I'm guessing that whether this fits the mould or shatters it it will be a good read. Again, this officially lives in DH's pile, but I'm very adaptable. The only 'man's writer' I have never been able to get is Wilbur Smith.

13. Sovereign
A period romp? Detective novel? Historical saga? I don't know, but I enjoyed the previous novel and I can nick this from DH, too.

All to be read between now and the 1st September in locations as varied as my garden (! Some hope!) Wales, Cheltenham, Chester, Warrington & York. Never travel without a book. I keep meaning to write a diary, then I shall always have something sensational to read, but as I don't travel by train, I suppose the books will do. What's on your reading list this year? Have I missed off any must-reads? My DH has his birthday & we have our anniversary between now & Christmas so I am always looking out for more suggestions....

I will, of course, add Amazon links at some stage... but I need to make something to eat for a little girl who has a sad story to tell you all tomorrow... and you will laugh, I tell you, laugh......


  1. The book I'm in the middle of reading at the moment is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I'm enjoying it a lot.
    Next on my list is The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield.
    I've read Provincial Daughter which is written by Delafields daughter in the same style and enjoyed it, so thought I'd try the Lady books.

  2. That's quite a list! I too am working my way through a pile of books at the moment - however mine is a random selection of books I grabbed in the library - apart from the Potter boy and his pals of course - my list smacks more of desperation reading - I feel that I MUST read through the holidays because thats the only time I have to read!

    I quite fancied the Riverton one for the same reasons as you do, so I might invest in that one when I get through my library pile! Enjoy your reading.x

  3. That is some list lady!!! You'll have to get my mother to talk to you of the virtues of Wilbur - she loves him!

  4. Wow, what a great list! I have tried to get a list like that myself but life has not given me much time plus I am one to blame too as when I have a spare time I fill it with other things. But I am reading in a slow pace The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. It is about the ancient Taoism Philosophy but using Winnie the Pooh own Philosophy to illustrate it. Quite sweet.
    Take care.x

  5. I'll be interested to see if you like The Book Thief. We read it in our book group a few months ago. Most of the women really liked it. I liked it for the most part but it came at a hard time for a few of us -- soon after one of the girls lost her husband in a tragic accident, so the "death narrator" made it a little tougher. Also, about the Bad Food Britian -- I've never understoon why everyone says British food is so bad. I love it! Fish & Chips, Shepards Pie, etc.....I guess most people complain about pot roasts. Maybe they just don't know how to make them.... ;-)

  6. What a list! I've been neglecting reading of late, in preference to the mounds of housework and garden-work that needs attention, however I've nearly finished The Shell Seekers (apparently everyone has read this book, and either loved or hated it... I'm a bit divided, I preferred "Coming Home") by Rosamund Pilcher, an easy, Summery read.

    Enjoy the holidays!

  7. What a fantastic selection, let us know your favourite. We always need ideas for book group. I loved the book you sent me with my book mark.Have a great summer holiday.

  8. You are going to be very busy - I hope you are a fast reader!
    Love Ax

  9. Soveriegn is brilliant just love all those Shardlake books, if you didn't start with Dissolution go buy it now and add it to your list and Dark Fire. Loved Dissolution so much I bought it twice having given my first copy to my (American) sister in law who's first comment was "Whats a cockeril?"

  10. So, did you finish HP, didja, didja? I really enjoyed it, more than I thought I might.

    The rest of your list has given me some ideas of things to look for next time the library bus comes or I find myself in the grownup section of a bookshop (like that's going to happen in the summer holidays!)

  11. I am dreadfully behind on the potter series- we decided to try books on tape instead!

    I have been reading the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout- because they are quick fun reads, and don't eat up too much time... alas, I don't sound very literary of late!

  12. I wish I had a book list - I wish that I had time to read! I used to read everything, but now I only read childrens stories.

    Feeding your children crisps, as some kind of meal! How could you - naughty mummy.

    Enjoy your holiday, let's hope that we get some nice weather soon.

    Victoria x

  13. Wow, you put me to shame! I was an avid reader all my life BC (Before Children), I could get through 6 books in a week as a child, and always had a book on the go as an adult. Now I just have so much to do so little time. I try and read a book when I go to bed but can barely finish a couple of pages before I'm falling asleep....I did read a WHOLE BOOK when visiting my Mum last week,My life in my hands by Alson Lapper which I enjoyed.

    Because I don't have much time for reading I prefer to read books that make me think or non-fiction rather than chicklit which is forgotten as soon as you've finished it. I like some of the books on your list, let us know what you think of them. I'm going to pick up a book today, thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Wow you put me to shame! I was an avid reader as a child and always had a book on the go BC (Before Children) but now I just have so much to do so little time.....
    I managed to finish A WHOLE BOOK when I stayed with my Mum last week, My Life in my hands by Alison Lapper which I enjoyed. I tend to try and read books that make me think or non-fiction these days rather than Chick-lit which is forgotten as soon as you've read it. I like your list, let us know what you think of the books. I'm going to start a new book today, thanks for the inspiration!


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