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Book Club

What Makes a Great Holiday Read?


Picture the scene: you’re lying on a comfortable sun lounger beside a turquoise infinity pool. Exotic butterflies flit amongst colourful flowers and in the trees colourful birds sing an exotic song. There’s the sound of laughter and splashing from nearby and the scent of coconut suntan oil mingles with the salty tang of the sea, glittering tantalisingly on the pool horizon. You take a sip from the fruity cocktail beside you, the ice melting rapidly in the heat of the afternoon sun. You adjust your position under the umbrella and return to your book.

You’ve been meaning to read it for months but somehow there just never seemed enough hours in the day. There was always something to do, a meeting to attend, a project to plan, a meal to prepare, a child to comfort, a friend to hear, an email to reply to, a garden to weed, a car to clean, a bed to collapse into at the end of another hectic day …

In another life, one before being ‘grown up’ lost its allure, when the only thing to think about was what to wear and where to go on a night out, and after all those exams that seemed to rule your school days (best years of your life – pah!), there was time to read, just for pleasure, for the sheer joy of it …

And now, finally, on your holiday, you can once more escape into that world, if only for a brief moment in time. And what makes your ideal holiday read? You’d got a favourite book in your luggage but at the airport you were tempted by the section called ‘Holiday Reading’ and browsed the titles like a kiddie in a sweet shop.

Maybe a dark Scandinavian murder mystery with some feisty, awkward, vaguely dysfunctional heroine? Or how about a fiery romance between two apparently ill-suited characters who will spend most of the novel arguing, only to fall into each other’s arms in the final chapter? Maybe that ‘blockbuster’ that everyone’s talking about – a quirky type goes on a journey (inner or outer) to find something or someone who may or may not be waiting for them? Do you perhaps want to know the inner secrets of that comedian who appears on TV every week? That chunky auto-biography could be just the ticket. Or possibly you could get that big science book on everything you’ve ever wanted to know about life, the universe and maths.  Er, maybe not – too much like hard work.

Oh look, there’s a ‘gripping psychological thriller’ with lots of gore and weirdness and a plot so convoluted you know you will have to reread it to even begin to understand it? No, you don’t feel like being that challenged on your precious holiday.  Hmmm, that pastel pink embossed cover looks tempting. ‘Funny and heartfelt story’ sounds just the ticket. But wait, wasn’t there a travel book set on the island you are about to visit? Your best friend said you just had to read because it “captures the spirit of the people and you’ll just love the descriptions of the humorous locals and their quaint little customs.” Decisions, decisions …

Whatever book you choose to read on your trip, there is no doubt that holiday reading is one of life’s wonderful simple pleasures. It’s a time to indulge yourself, to enjoy reading for the sheer pleasure of it, to immerse yourself in a way that everyday life doesn’t permit. And when you’ve had a few hours of relaxing reading, you can pop the book (or Kindle – so handy for voracious readers and takes up hardly any space in the suitcase) back in your bag, gather up your belongings and get ready for dinner. With a bit of luck, you’ll be returning to it tomorrow and hopefully right up until the end of your holiday. Now that’s what I call relaxation.

Now do enter James villa’s Blog Launch Competition and you’ll the chance to win a £2,000 James Villa Holiday voucher and an Amazon Kindle. Good luck and happy reading!


is a Guest Author at James Villa Holidays.

Zoë divides her time between the beautiful countryside in North West England, travels...

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