August 05, 2009

Suggestions for Travel Reading Please!


It is now less than 5 weeks until we fly away on our trip to Ireland, the UK and Paris (but who's counting??!!) and I am starting to think about a book (or books) to take away with me.

I have already put The Secret Garden onto my ipod as an audio book - I gave a beautiful copy to my goddaughter for her recent 4th Birthday but I am ashamed to say that I have never read the book myself. I know an audio book is probably not the best way to appreciate and experience this one but I thought it would be a nice, light option for the plane or for when I'm feeling too wiped out for anything else.

I would love to hear from all of you about any suggestions you may have for other books I could take with me - both audio and hard copy. On my last trip overseas I actually did quite a bit of reading in those times at 3 and 4am when jet lag would not let me sleep! I am thinking I would like to have books set in the countries I am visiting - especially the UK (a place I love reading about even when I am not there) and I would love a book that isn't too heavy and yet has really good character development and involvement. I'm also thinking a nice historical novel from one of these countries or areas might be good?? I was thinking about taking The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters but I am thinking it might take up a bit too much room in the bag.

Any suggestions and ideas greatly appreciated!

23 comments:

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Karen! Off the top of my head I would suggest Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman for the UK (well, London); The Elegance of the Hedgehog for Paris (I've forgotten if you've read that already...); and for Ireland some Roddy Doyle, Colm Toibin, or Patrick McCabe.

On audio: Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Bill Bryson (I'm thinking Notes from a Small Island).

farmlanebooks said...

Have you read Angela's Ashes? That would be great for Ireland. I agree that a Sarah Waters would be good, but agree a hardback might take up a bit too much space. How about one of her other ones?

Why don't you just bring a few books and then buy some more once you're here? That way you don't have to carry so many with you and you can buy some which aren' easily available abroad. There are loads of cheap bookshops here and browsing is half the fun!

Where abouts in England are you going?

claire said...

Karen, why not visit the Persephone bookshop??? :D

Nadia said...

Hiya! Before I went to England I read Bill Bryson's Notes From a Small Island. It was quite a good read and neat to get his perspective on the UK. For a fun book from an Irish writer I would read Marian Keyes (her books are chick-lit but they are fun). Oh for Paris, read one of Jean Rhys' books (okay, so they are tad more serious, but she did write them in Paris). Anyhow, just enjoy your trip and I'm sure you will peruse some book shops there and will wind up with some good reads. Plus, the airports usually have great selections of the latest reads in England (and they are not all just bestseller type of books like here in the US, they include literary types of books too). Happy reading!

JoAnn said...

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola is one of my favorites of the year...and set in Paris. Not too long and great character development. Here's my review:

http://lakesidemusing.blogspot.com/2009/04/therese-raquin-by-emile-zola.html

You trip sounds so exciting!!

Steph said...

What about Atonement by Ian McEwan for the UK? Or a collection of Jeeves & Wooster stories (I just finished my first J&W novel and loved it! Review to come soon on my blog.)... they'd be great if you're going to be roaming about the UK.

For Ireland I'd definitely recommend In The Woods and/or The Likeness by Tana French. I devoured those books earlier this year, and I think it'd be fun to read them if you're going to be in Ireland (they're set in Dublin), although they are a bit grim. But so captivating!

Paperback Reader said...

How could I forget Colette?! When I next visit Paris I am only going to read Colette.

JoAnn reminded me that I have Therese Raquin to look forward to on my TBR pile.

Psst, Claire, I think Karen is planning a visit already to the Persephone bookshop! She may need a bigger case...

booklineandsinker said...

i second bill bryson--he's one of my favorite authors. most of his stuff is travel writing--and hilarious.

hope you have a wonderful trip--i'm a tad green with envy. :)

savidgereads said...

Is there any particular theme that you are going for? I like reading books about wherever I am or written by people from wherever I am... Am of to Tel Aviv so this could prove interesting!

Are you after modern or classic? I could recommend too many.

verbatim said...

I agree, Atonement would be good, if you haven't read that already. The Glass Castle will grab you and make that flight go by very quickly. You mentioned Sarah Waters. Have you read Fingersmith? It's in paperback, and not too heavy.

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I just finished Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, it is a fab book a memoir of growing up as a white African in what was then known as Rhodesia. A great read!!

Karen said...

Hi Paperback Reader - I have read Neverwhere and absolutely loved it! One of my friends has just finished Hedgehog as well but I have not read that one as yet so you are right - it might be the perfect Paris read. I think Bill Bryson would be perfect for an audio book too - thanks so much!

Hi Jackie - We are mainly going to be in London and Manchester while in England but I also want to do a few trips around - including visiting Jane Austen's house in Chawton. Do you have any other suggestions of places we shouldn't miss??
I have read Angela's Ashes - oh so long ago now though so I could probably revisit that one. The Little Stranger is actually out in trade paperback here so not quite as chunky as a hardcover - but almost! I was going to try and be really restrained and only bring 1 or 2 books with me and buy others as I go. I feel naked with only a couple of books on me though!!

Hi Claire - I will definitely be visiting the Persephone bookshop - I can't wait for that!! Any suggestions for good ones to pick up??

Hi Nadia - thanks for all of your great suggestions. I think Bill Bryson's book sounds like a must read. I have read all of Marian Keyes books and have loved them - I think I will be a little disappointed if Ireland and Dublin aren't just the way they are portrayed in her books!!

Hi JoAnn - thanks for this suggestion. I have not heard of this one before but I will definitely go and check out your review - it sounds as though you loved it.

Hi Steph - I was thinking of taking Atonement even though I have read it before because I did love it so much. I haven't heard of J&W before - looking forward to reading your review on that one. I have also read In The Woods and loved it but as I work in the area of forensic medicine I want to stay well away from this topic area while I am on holidays!!

Hi PBR - I am definitely going to need a HUGE case!! I bought my first Colette book when I was in Sydney a couple of weeks ago (Cheri) but I am yet to read it. It is only small so it would be great to take.

Hi Booklineandsinker - thanks for making me want to pick up Bill Bryson even more!

Hi SavidgeReads - I think I had on mind a book written in modern times but set in the Victorian era or sometime similar. Don't ask me why that era!!!

Hi Verbatim - I have read Fingersmith - I kinda wished I had saved it for this trip though!!

Hi Bethany - thanks for the suggestion!

mel said...

Maybe "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak or "The Book Shop" by Penelope Fitzgerald. I have flow transpacific flights many times and choosing a good book is very important part trip planning.

Eves_Alexandria said...

This is my first visit to your blog, and I couldn't resist offering some recommendations. :-) For sheer 'Englishness' I'd recommend something like 'The Remains of the Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro. But if you want some Victoriana, well, I'm sure you must have already read 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' by Susanna Clarke, but what about 'The Crimson Petal and the White' by Michel Faber? (Although, of course, historical novels are always the chunkiest!)

As for Irish writing, I recently read Barry McCrea's 'The First Verse' about a young man who becomes involved in a literary cult and can wholeheartedly recommend it.

As for audio books, my favourites are always the classics: Middlemarch, or Jane Eyre, or North and South. :-)

Tara said...

Have a wonderful trip! I also think you should do some book shopping while you're there, but agree that you need to bring some books with you. The last comment's suggestion of The Crimson Petal... is a good one - loved that book! I think some Jane Austen might be in order, or for a lighter read how about Maeve Binchey for Ireland or Rosamunde Pilcher - both comfort, cozy authors for me.

the_young_dude said...

I suggest some René Daumalet and Jean Genet for Paris. Classic, but good (like all classics?)

Karen said...

Hi Mel - thanks so much for your suggestions. I have read The Book Thief and absolutely loved it - my fave book from 2008 - but I haven't read the other one (and it sounds perfect for me!).

Hi Eves_Alexandria - thanks so much for stopping by and offering your suggestions! I have read JS & Mr N - and loved it, even though it is not usually the type of book I enjoy. I have also read The Remains of the Day but not the Michel Faber and it has always tempted me - I will have to check it out.

Hi Tara - thanks so much for your suggestions - I am definitely going to need a bigger bag!

Hi the_young_dude - thanks so much for suggesting these - classics are always good.

mel said...

"I am the Messenger", the book Markus Zusak wrote before "The Book Thief" is also a wonderful work. I also recently read his second book, "Getting the Girl" which is good also but more a young adult book.
I am reading, by accident, his books in reverse order. You can really see the rapid growth of his artistry.

Karen said...

Hi Mel - thanks for this - I have had someone else recommend Zusak's other books as well. I will have to check them out.

farmlanebooks said...

Hi Karen - If you have any spare time when you are in London let me know as it would be great to meet up - don't worry if you don't though - I know how packed these holidays can be!

I live quite close to Hampton Court Palace and Windsor, so would be happy to meet up in either of these places if you like - or you are welcome to come and visit me in Addlestone, Surrey. I'm happy to cook up some dinner!

Karen said...

Hi Jackie - thank you for your offer! I would love to catch up with you if we can organise it some way. I will let you know our itinerary closer to the time!

booksandfood said...

Hmmm. I tried to leave a comment before and it wouldn't let me...so I'll try again. *g* (I'm nothing if not determined!) This is my first visit to your blog...I am here via SavidgeReads.

I'd like to suggest The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys - one of my favourite Canadian writers. The story takes place in England 1941 and concerns a young horticulturist who has been tasked with bringing a garden back to life. The garden is based on The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the novel so inspired me that when my family visited the UK in 2007 I dragged my kids to Heligan in the pouring rain so I could see it. (It's totally worth a visit!)
Have a wonderful holiday.
Christie

Karen said...

Hi Christie - thanks for being persistent and getting your comment on!! Thanks also for visiting and for your book suggestion.