What to read on holiday

We've got through a LOT of books on our extended holiday, as there is not much to do here apart from read and gaze out to sea. Here's what Amanda's family thought of the following:

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel. 9/10

Best book of the holiday. It's basically one long, beautifully written Tudor gossip-fest. This is a clever and complicated book (you can't read this in a hurry) it makes you feel as if you are right next to Thomas Cromwell as he goes about his wheeling and dealing in Tudor London. Glorious.

Solar, Ian McEwan 6/10

Amazingly written – every page has a brilliantly clever turn of phrase or observation- but the main character is so ghastly that it failed to impress either middleagedad or me. In fact MAD threw it across the room at one point uttering unprintable expletives.

The Owl Killers, Karen Maitland 7/10

Good for anyone who likes witchcrafty stuff (or homeopathic/natural medicine- there's a lot of that 'gather and heal' thing going on), set in the dark ages and features evil village lord, wayward daughter, an order of stroppy early feminists (the not-quite-nuns) and spooky happenings in the wood. Perfect after Wolf Hall.

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 9/10

How unbelievably prescient was this book? It was written in 1932 but could have been written yesterday, had middleagedad and I gripped. Now want to read all the other Huxley books, particularly after he started playing around with drugs in California (where else?)

The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler, 5/10

Only if it's the third book on a 3 for 2 offer at the airport.

Tennyson's Gift, Lynne Truss 8/10

I love Lynne Truss and have read everything she has written ( this was a re-read). This is her best novel, a comic bonkers tale of a summer in the Isle of Wight which features phrenology, art, liturature and madness. Essential reading for all Truss fans and not a comma out of place.

It's Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong 71/2 /10

Eldest teenageson read this and it was the first book he has read for ages (he is 19 and normally has much more pressing stuff to do, amazing what happens when you remove a screen or two from their lives….). He is a bike fanatic and pronounced it 'A brilliant story, if a little Americanised'. We all feel as if we have read it, as he insisited on talking about it at every meal time. A sign of a good book.

Young Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore 9/10

This is what eldest teenageson read next, and found it equally fascinating. He was a politics A level student so knew a little about the Russian set up around Stalin's era, but was hugely absorbed by his extrordinary life.

Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer 7/10

Youngest teenageson read this, (he is a 14 year old foodie) and declared it 'Good, very interesing but too many facts.' The fact that he even got through the first chapter (he is not a book boy) means it must be pretty interesting, he kept telling us why we should give up meat if we don't know where it comes from.

Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton 7/10

A middleagedad pick, who said 'A rattling good read about pirates in the Caribbean'. Perfect if you are by the sea.

Caught, Harlan Coben 8/10

Another middleagedad read, he is slightly obessed with the current fashion for Scandanvian Wallander style murder mysteries and has read all the Coben books (there's about 20 of them) and reckoned this one was a good one, 'A good twist at the end…'

Don't Look Back, Karin Fossum 9/10

What is it about the Scandanavians? Why are they all into killing each other in the most gruesome of ways when they are mostly beautiful and live surrounded by all that lovely scenery and great design? MAD said 'Briliant Norwegian police procedural, it's the first in a series of ten'. You heard it hear first.

The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephan L Carter 9/10

Fantastic insight into the black upper class of America.

Week In, Week Out, Simon Hopkinson 8/10

Found this on Venesa's book shelf in the kitchen of Macaroni Beach House. It is a fabulous cookery book where nearly every recipe requires eggs, butter and cream. Seasonal cooking by a properly good chef, Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories is one of my favourite books and I can't believe I didn't know about this one, just bought it off Amazon at a stupidly cheap £6.59.

PS, regular TWR readers may be wondering why the Kindle isn't featured. Well it's because I don't like it as much as a book, also it doesn't much like the beach, is tricky to read in blinding sun and doesn't appreciate being dropped off the sun lounger when you slip into an afternoon doze….

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