So we are 10 days into our Beach read holiday and by now we should be totally relaxed and rested.
Today my guest is Proofreader Julia Gibbs
My ideal holiday destination? I have a few! Some years ago, before my work life consisted of sitting on the sofa with my laptop, I visited many exotic locations in the course of my work (that’s a whole other story). So I have many to pick from, and I’d like to share some with you.
I prefer hard copy, paperback books. Yes, I know Kindle is more convenient, and I do have one, which I find very handy for plane journeys etc., but in an ideal world I’d carry an entire library with me, like the character in Somerset Maugham’s story, The Book Bag. (Read it, it’s haunting.)
My 5 book choices
A Fun Read
Chances by Jackie Collins. Set in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I first read it when I bought it at the airport in Las Vegas, having flown there to visit my friend who was a dancer in one of the shows. Nothing like reading about a glamorous venue when you’re actually in it! I consider this the best of her books, a real family saga. It’s got gangsters, intrigue, beautiful women, a charismatic hero – and is completely unputdownable.
A Fact/Guide book
For my 50th birthday, I went to Manhattan for a week with a friend. Although I’d been there briefly before, I wanted to do a bit of research, find out how to walk around, what sort of thing I ought to know, which areas to visit, and all sorts of other things. An English friend who lives there recommended Frommer’s The Irreverent Guide to Manhattan. There’s a quote from the New York Times on the cover – ‘like being taken around by a savvy local’ – and so it proved to be! I really enjoyed reading the book and it all added to the fun of my holiday planning. I’ve lent it to friends since, and they all loved it.
A book to truly escape with
About 15 years ago, I visited Singapore for a few days. I’d never previously been to anywhere as exotic as South East Asia, and was struck by the beauty of the place before I’d even left the airport. However, even though most of the population whom you will encounter speak English, Singapore is of necessity somewhere very alien to the Western experience, and you do wonder what goes on behind the façade. When I was invited to proofread Jake Needham’s The Dead American, I was immediately transported back to the Malay Peninsula, and also intrigued by the story that unfolded before me – as you will be, and you will not guess the ending, I guarantee.
A book from my favourite genre
My favourite genre, if I must pick one, is anything involving human relationships – and no, I don’t just mean romantic love, in fact a love story doesn’t even need to be included. I recently proofread Stolen Journeys by Sylvia Atipova, and had no idea what to expect as I started the book. This starts out in Bulgaria some years ago and then moves to England in the present day, and just as you’re beginning to work out how all the characters relate to each other, they creep into your consciousness and you start to care about what happens to them. They don’t occupy a big stage, but their actions and feelings are utterly realistic, and you can picture them as easily as if they were sitting across from you.
Another book to truly escape with!
Having mentioned Somerset Maugham in my opening paragraph, and told you about Jake Needham’s book, I must now turn to the former’s short stories. These are tales of love, passion, death, betrayal – just everything, really, and were written in the first half of the 20th century. Some are set in England, but most take place in what were British Colonies in Asia before World War II. Some of the stories are about life or death themes, some are very funny, but all are compelling. These books belong to my mother, and the inscription inside is from my father, on their first wedding anniversary; I’ve been reading the stories over and over again since I was around 14 years old. Seldom have I been so immersed in another world.