Holiday reading part one: Ask the book buyer about the best non-fiction reads for your holiday reading…
Whatever the weather, it really is summer now and for lots of us this means… holidays! Perhaps you’re packing your bags for a week in the sun or getting ready for a car or train journey in the UK. Maybe you’ve earmarked a long weekend to spend in the garden, or simply to indulge in a spot of armchair travelling. Whatever your holiday plans, you’ll be in need of a good book.
If you’re overwhelmed by choice and need some guidance, then relax; the next few newsletters are here to help you pick out top books for your holidays.
This fortnight I’ve focused on non-fiction; four varied but equally fun, easy-going and intriguing non-fiction books that you can slip into your suitcase and rest assured will provide a satisfying, absorbing read for your travels, wherever they may take you.
Calypso by David Sedaris
I love the publisher’s description of this new collection as ‘beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumour joke’. If you’ve never read Sedaris, you'll likely be bemused but I urge you to give his darkly comic writing a go. For those of you who do know his work, you’ll understand how Sedaris can genuinely make you laugh out loud, and if you’ve heard him on the radio, or seen him live (like I’ve been lucky enough to), you’ll never be able to get his voice out of your head. This new book is full of his characteristic wry, smart humour but it’s also borne of slightly more weighty subjects than usual as he ponders mortality and middle age. A brilliant holiday read that will have people around you wondering what the joke is!
One More Croissant for the Road by Felicity Cloake
Jarrold price £12.99
A small, hand-luggage friendly hardback by the much-loved food writer Felicity Cloake who is author of the Guardian's 'How to Make the Perfect' column, and the New Statesman's food column. This is a delicious memoir; part travelogue as Cloake cycles 2,300km across France, part food memoir as she searches for French culinary perfection and part recipe book. It’s an enjoyable and mouth-watering read, using her ‘How to Make the Perfect…’ formula to find the 'perfect' versions of French classics from Tarte Tatin to Tartiflette, putting them into practice with a definitive recipe for each. You’ll feel and taste the French lifestyle as you read and at the end of it will have a lovely set of recipes to try out and keep the holiday spirit alive!
Heroes by Stephen Fry
BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE
There are many reasons why Stephen Fry is a national treasure and this is one of them: he has brought the stories and lessons of ancient Greece to a whole new audience and made dusty myths feel accessible, relevant and hugely entertaining. Heroes is the companion piece to Fry’s bestselling Mythos, which was a brilliant, rollicking retelling of well-known Greek myths. Now he applies the same treatment to the adventures, schemes and perilous journeys of Greek heroes, from Perseus to Cassiopeia. It’s a perfect holiday read as you’ll be transported to ancient worlds full of action but by the end will feel better-informed and will definitely have laughed out loud.
Wally Funk’s Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer by Sue Nelson
The space race is a subject I’m fascinated by* and with this July marking the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, there are lots of books around on the subject. Wally Funk’s story brings a different perspective, tracing her progress as a woman in the field, who equalled her male counterparts in training for space travel, even beating the scores of John Glenn. But ‘politics and prejudice’ meant that none of the women on the space programme ever went to space. Wally Funk didn’t give up and instead became the first ever female aviation safety inspector. She is now aged 80, living in Texas, has taught over 3,000 students to fly in her lifetime and still dreams of going to space. This is her completely inspirational story.
*For further, excellent space-race reading try Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff or The Last Pilot, a novel by Norwich-based author Benjamin Johncock.
Prices and availability checked Thursday 27 June 2019.