Whoa! It’s Day 3 of our Holiday! With amazing book suggestions for your own vacation.
Today my guest is Alison Williams
I’m very lucky in that my ideal holiday destination is actually where I’m going this year (and where I went last year) – a beautiful restored farmhouse in a secluded valley in the Lot-et-Garonne area of Aquitane in France. I love France – the food, the weather, the people, the attitude to life, and our holidays there are always wonderful. Lot-et-Garonne isn’t as well known or as touristy as some other regions in France and yet it is beautiful. I have an incredibly busy life and here I can truly relax, unwind and breathe. And read, of course.
I like to take a mixture of genres and a mixture of formats – some on Kindle because I can read seven or eight books a week when I’m on holiday and there just isn’t room for them all, and some paperbacks, because I appreciate it when other holidaymakers leave books for future guests, and I like to do the same.
A book about the place I’m going to.
As we’re in Aquitane, and because I am fascinated by history and particularly by women in history, I shall be taking Alison Weir’s ‘Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England’. I love this area of France, and so I’d love to know more about its history. I’ve also read about Eleanor before – married to Louis VII and then England’s Henry II, her sons were Richard the Lionheart and King John. She had a huge influence on the politics of the time and lived to the ripe old age of eighty-two. A fascinating woman. Or find this book on Amazon.com
A book that interests me
I’ll also be taking Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. I read King’s novels voraciously as a teenager. I’ve heard excellent things about this book – part memoir, part writing master class – and can’t wait to read it. But realistically, a holiday is probably the only time I have when I’ll be able to read it thoroughly and properly. It’ll definitely have to be the paperback version – and it won’t be getting left behind. Or find this on Amazon.com
A book I’ve mean meaning to read for ages is Hilary Mantel’s ‘A Change of Climate’. Anyone who knows me at all knows I have a bit of an obsession with Hilary. She’s a marvellous writer and I love her novels. A holiday – where there are no pressures and no time constraints – is the ideal time to relax and give this book the attention it deserves. A family saga about ex-missionaries living in Norfolk, this is a book unlike the historical dramas that have made Mantel so popular, but a storyteller is a storyteller, and Mantel writes just as well about the modern day as she does about history. Or find it here on Amazon.com
For me a holiday is all about escaping the day-to-day and a book that I can really escape with is Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. I have no idea now how many times I’ve read it – with the exception of Hilary Mantel, the Brontes are the only writers I can read again and again – but every time I read it I’m swept away to those wild moors and can truly lose myself. This has to be read in paperback format – I have about five rather raggedy, well-thumbed copies, including the one I filched from my son when he had to study it for his English ‘A’Level (he is somewhat less enamoured!) so will leave one behind. Or find it here on Amazon.com
And of course, I’ll be leaving a copy or two of my own novel ‘The Black Hours’ . A very dark historical drama, based on the life of the notorious Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins, ‘The Black Hours’ is probably best read in bright daylight (so you don’t get too scared) with a revitalising glass of wine or two at hand. Or find it here on Amazon.com
Now all I need is a guarantee of hot weather, a few bottles of the local red, and a pile of croissants and chocolate éclairs. Perfect.