And here we stand on the edge of a luxuriously long holiday, three whole weeks, and with ample time on trains to savour books - a luxury unknown since student days. This is my second time writing this blog post, because the first time, the internet ate it. Therefore, because I have too much to do (wedding in 18 days aaargh!), I will shorten it mercilessly to my ten recent most favourite holiday reads, and you will need to look up more detailed descriptions and reviews for yourselves. And please hit me up with any recommendations for me to read! I'm running out of material!
1. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - will make you want to move the the Italian coast, sharpish.
2. Gone Girl (and Dark Places, and Sharp Objects) - basically anything by Gillian Flynn. If you like your books dark and twisted, she's you guy.
3. Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann - set in fifties America, little bit trashy, enough of a page-turned to get your day in.
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- cracking early-feminist Victorian novel about a woman who gets everything she wants whilst sticking to her guns. A must-read.
5. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann- the ultimate page-turner, this is like reading a soap opera. Oh, and Neely is based on Judy Garland, and can you get a more interesting basis for a character?
6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - this will make you too dream of living an idyllic rural life in a ruined castle. If you're that way inclined.
7. Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor- the biggest social climber since Cinderella? This was censored at the time for being too sexy, but if you want to read about another woman clawing her way to the top (even if she does it through sex and manipulation), then you can't get a better book. It's pretty long, so a good pick if you have a long-haul flight ahead. I always look for Amber on the balconies of the Royal Exchange in London when I'm there.
8. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - This seemed like the ultimate trashy holiday read, but it was actually really smart and funny and modern. Definitely worth spending a bit of time on.
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer - such an unusual, thought-provoking book. Not a light read by any stretch, but it makes up for it by being so quirky and fascinating. I am SO jealous of Jonathon Safran Foer.
10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - This book is evocative of holidays in several places, like the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired beginning, and the road trip in the middle. I have nothing bad to say about Nabokov, ever - it takes an extremely talented man to make you feel sorry for a paedophile, and to write much better, more interesting English than any naturalised English writer I've read. Obviously it's a bit of a controversial book but don't let that blind you to its literary merits, which are massive.
That's the best I can do in the short time I have! I also have a new favourite hobby, which is stalking mega-rich people's weddings via hashtag on instagram. My two recent favourites are Nell Diamond's (she is the daughter of Bob Diamond, former Barclay's boss) - the dress! The hotel! - and Sabine Ghanem, who married the Getty heir, Joseph - the party the night before was particularly jealousy-inducing, but at least I have shoes from the same designer as her (though mine are not custom-made, le sob). Any more? Send them my way, I am loving these visual feasts!
Oh wait... I forgot to totally lower your expectations for our wedding... No night-before Renaissance party, no wagon-wheel-sized cake and my dress does not have its own hotel room... you have been warned!