Subject: Re: Holiday reading
Hi Sally and fellow readers

As well as Dibdin, have you read Donna Leon for Venetian crime stories? Or Jan Morris' classic Venice?

For those of you off to hip Barcelona, you should read George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, an account of Orwell's time in the city during the Spanish Civil War.

Venturing to France, well along with the wealth of books on wine and food, how about Julian Barnes' collection of short stories Cross Channel or the more recent Something to Declare.

Making your way to the Emerald Isle? McCarthy's Bar is one of the best things I read last year (and then my Irish girlfriend read it, and then her dad, and then her brother, and they all liked it!).

One of the other great books I read was English Passengers by Matthew Kneale. This is something of an epic historical novel with a narrative that alternates between the high seas and Tasmania at the time of the British occupation. Swashbuckling, intelligent, and moving. Fun for all the family.

A book I have already discussed with Sally - Laurens van der Post's Journey into Russia is a non-fiction account of this polymath's trip to the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. I doubt anyone from the West wrote a more readable book about Soviet life at this time. May be hard to find this in print.

Jan Morris again: her Hong Kong has long been considered the definitive tome on the area. A history of the former colony interspersed with Morris's own observations from the early to mid- 1990s.

Paul Theroux - his ascerbic style may not be to everyone's taste, but they are great to read on train journeys. For those of you emulating the Grand Tour of the Mediterranean, try Pillars of Hercules, and those heading through the Americas, The Old Patagonian Express.

OK - two more and then I shall leave you in peace.

David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again is a collection of articles/essays. Some you'll like, some you'll loathe, but the chapters on the Illinois State Fair and the cruise are worth the purchase price alone. Warning: some of you may be offended!

Finally, if you like your urban history with a critical bent, look no further than City of Quartz by Mike Davis. Davis dissects Los Angeles in a way few managed before him. Stocked in any university bookshop at the very least as it is a bit of a classic urbanism text these days, but this is no dry academic book. Davis could well make you look at LA from a whole new perspective.

So, Linda, how do we take all our books AND travel light? :)


Jonathan Turton London, UK