Match your reading to your holiday destination has a lot going for it. A few years ago I reread all of Michael Ondaatje books while travelling through Sri Lanka.
“2:15 in the afternoon. I sit in the huge living room of the old governor’s home in Jaffna. The walls, painted in recent years a warm rose-red, stretch awesome distance away to my left, to my right and up towards a white ceiling” This from Running with the Family ….
Or have you ever jetted off to the Med with an unfinished, crumpled Austen novel in hand, eager to wind up those last few chapters, only to find that, while sat in front of a lunch of grilled octopus and cool retsina your mind is wandering to the misty heath surrounding the Bennetts’ home? Before you know it, you’re plotting your autumn wardrobe, your shiny back-to-school shoes, and an October trip to the Yorkshire Downs. Looking forward is lovely of course, but before you know it you’ve wished those all-too-brief holiday moments away. Take a leaf from our book (not sorry) and choose your brain food accordingly, ensuring that you eek every last drop of sun-drenched wist from those hours spent sun lounger-bound.
Here a few other suggestions…
Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea for a Cuban recess
Hemingway’s tale of a steely, steadfast philosophising fisherman and his battle with a giant marlin in the Cuban waters of the Gulf Stream is a captivating and tightly written novel. With his spare, inch-perfect prose, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature for this masterpiece, and it’s heart-wrenching stuff.
You will emerge emotionally exhausted, half-baked by every scorching minute of Santiago’s three-day-long battle with the prize fish, and fall asleep envisioning the same African lions of his dreams. Read this on a terrace in Havana as the old man’s sea sparkles in the distance.
Read Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse in the South of France
Sagan published this bestseller at just 19 years old. This novel charts the devilish deeds of wealthy and careless teen Cécile who competes with her father’s lovers for his attention. Flitting between disturbing his relationships and engaging in a slew of her own (there is an excellent rendez-vous in a rowing boat out in the glittering Mediterranean), this story paints a heady love triangle amid the saturated vistas of the French Riviera. Cécile’s father leads his life by an Oscar Wilde quote:
“Sin is the only note of vivid colour that persists in the modern world”. These sentiments fuel Cécile’s every action – “I believed that I could base my life on it,” she says. It’s the perfect read for those with salty skin and long summer nights in mind.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, for an adventure in Tuscany
You don’t need to read E.M. Forster’s A Room With a View in the middle of a Florentine poppy field in the hazy heat of late summer to grasp its sensuous charm, but if you happen to be travelling through Tuscany this summer, you could do worse than to take this 1908 novel with you. Set between the Italian region and south-east Edwardian England, Forster juxtaposes a fiery Italian spirit with straitlaced British chasteness with all the skill of an author who both knows and loves each. Perhaps in equal measure.
For those unhappily stuck in colder climes, the 1985 film serves an escapist very well, too. “I have a theory that there is something in the Italian landscapes which inclines even the most stolid nature to romance,” remarks Judi Dench, as novelist Eleanor Lavish, to Maggie Smith’s Charlotte Bartlett, to the tune of an opera, while their charge wanders off for that kiss. “It reminds me somewhat of the country around Shropshire,” the chaperone replies dreamily. If only Shropshire were this steamy. http://www.anothermag.com/design-living/10024/match-your-summer-reads-to-your-chosen-holiday-destination
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