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17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

Books can be amazing company on holiday. Sitting on the beach, reading a book, while the sun kisses your skin and the wind gently plays with your hair. Does this sound like a line from a book you would read on holiday already? Good, because holiday books tend to have a bad reputation. Writers and readers alike make fun of “airport books” for being cheesy and saying nothing profound. And this is an actual genre, if you weren’t aiming to write an airport book you probably did something wrong. But holidays don’t have to be associated with bad books. 

On the contrary, holidays are the perfect time to catch up on the books you’ve been meaning to read. The books and authors that everyone is talking about. Of course, if you are looking for a light-hearted read, that is perfectly fine. There are plenty of those in the list bellow. But they are light-hearted reads, which you wouldn’t necessarily want to leave in the hotel. 

If you are looking to catch up on some interesting books or are want a page-turner to go through on your holiday, this list will help you out. 

1. Why Mummy Drinks, Gill Sims

Pick this up if you are looking for something hilarious, which everyone has heard of.

Synopsis: It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’

But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

Get it here (or better yet, at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

2. Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney

It’s one of the books everyone is talking about, especially if you do creative writing in university. 

Synopsis: Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another.

Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex menage-a-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man.

You can read Conversations with Friendsas a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text.

You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies.

However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

3. The Holiday, T. M. Logan

For the lovers of crime books, who want to read a perfect holiday novel. Yes, it’s because it’s called ‘The Holiday’, but it’s also a pretty good story. 

Synopsis: For fans of Harlan Coben and Shari Lapena, and from the bestselling author of LIES take a holiday you won’t forget . . . Seven days. Three families. One killer. It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence. But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends. One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined. Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

4. The Summer Book, Tove Jansson 

A thoughtful, funny and sweet tale, which will be a great edition to any holiday, though it would definitely be a perfect read in the summer. And there’s going to be a film adaptation. 

Synopsis: An elderly artist and her six-year-old grand-daughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland.

As the two learn to adjust to each other’s fears, whims and yearnings, a fierce yet understated love emerges – one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the very island itself. Written in a clear, unsentimental style, full of brusque humour, and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

5. Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman

For anyone who loved the film or is curious to see what the source for the film was. Plus, it’s interesting to say the least. 

Synopsis: It’s the mid-1980s; the place is the Italian Riviera. Elio – 17 years old, precocious, the son of an academic – finds himself falling for the older Oliver, a postdoctoral scholar completing his manuscript on Heraclitus at the beautiful home of Elio’s family. Oliver is worldly, handsome, a seductive contrast to Elio’s own naivety. Both are bright and questioning; the hook of desire is soon caught fast.

André Aciman – who so mesmerised with his autobiographical account of family and childhood in Out of Egypt – delivers a pitch-perfect elegy to a perfect lost summer and its long, slow shadow. Elegant, sensual, brimming with astute observation and recollection, Call Me By Your Name is the contemporary classic of love, identity, fate and memory.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

6. The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide

This sounds like something that could happen in real life, doesn’t it? And that’s exactly what makes the book so appealing. This is definitely worth a read even if you’re not on holiday. 

Synopsis: A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.

One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday


7. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference, Greta Thunderberg

This is a tiny book that you can read at an airport while you wait for your flight, or in a short-ish train ride. It’s one of those small, but eye-catching books you find at the till in bookshops. Definitely worth picking up. 

Synopsis: In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

This book brings you Greta in her own words. Collecting her speeches that have made history across Europe, from the UN to mass street protests, No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

8. Last Stories, William Trevor

If you are a fan of short stories and want to read some of the best ones out there. 

Synopsis: In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit.

Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music.

These gorgeous stories – the last that Trevor wrote before his death – affirm his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

9. When All Is Said, Anne Griffin

If you want to read a touching and wryly funny story, with a bittersweet aftertaste. 

Synopsis: At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual -though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.

Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.

Get it here (or support your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

10. Our Stop, Laura Jane Williams

If you want to read a romance with an interesting concept that will make you look around in public transport.  

Synopsis: Nadia gets the 07.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 07.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his Dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

A wonderfully funny will-they-won’t-they romance told with real emotional honesty.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday


11. Never Greener, Ruth Jones

A page-turning, bittersweet story from actress/screenwriter Ruth Jones. 

Synopsis: The past has a habit of tracking us down. And tripping us up. When Kate was twenty-two, she had an intense and passionate affair with a married man, Callum, which ended in heartbreak. Kate thought she’d never get over it.

Seventeen years later, life has moved on – Kate, now a successful actress, is living in London, married to Matt and mother to little Tallulah. Meanwhile Callum and his wife Belinda are happy together, living in Edinburgh and watching their kids grow up. The past, it would seem, is well and truly behind them all.

But then Kate meets Callum again. And they are faced with a choice: to walk away from each other or to risk finding out what might have been. Second chances are a rare gift in life. But that doesn’t mean they should always be taken…

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

12. The Lido, Libby Page

This is a feel good read by Libby Page who was in the Guardian’s round up of the best new faces of fiction in 2018. 

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Synopsis: Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George. Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

13. The Bookshop On The Shore, Jenny Colgan

Imagine a warm hug in the form of a book. It’s something you can easily read in one sitting – a sweet tale with great characters. 

Synopsis: Zoe is a single mother, sinking beneath the waves trying to cope by herself in London. Hari, her gorgeous little boy is perfect in every way – except for the fact that he just doesn’t speak, at all. When her landlord raises the rent on her flat, Zoe doesn’t know where to turn.

Then Hari’s aunt suggests Zoe could move to Scotland to help run a bookshop. Going from the lonely city to a small village in the Highlands could be the change Zoe and Hari desperately need.

Faced with an unwelcoming boss, a moody, distant bookseller named Ramsay Urquart, and a band of unruly children, Zoe wonders if she’s made the right decision.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

14. French Exit, Patrick deWitt

If you are looking for a quirky drama, a tasteful satire, this is the perfect modern story for you. 

Synopsis: Frances Price – tart widow, possessive mother and Upper East Side force of nature – is in dire straits, beset by scandal. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development.

And then there’s their cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral lawyer whose gruesome tabloid death rendered them social outcasts. To put their troubles behind them, the trio cut their losses and head for the exit.

Their beloved Paris becomes the backdrop for a giddy drive to self-destruction, helped along by a cast of singularly curious characters: a bashful private investigator, an aimless psychic and Mme. Reynard, friendly American expat and aggressive houseguest. Brimming with pathos, warmth and wit, French Exit is a one-of-a-kind tragedy of manners, a riotous send-up of high society and a moving story of mothers and sons.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

15. One More Croissant For The Road, Felicity Cloake

The perfect book for food lovers, French holidays and anyone who enjoys traveling. 

Synopsis: A land of glorious landscapes, and even more glorious food, France is a place built for cycling and for eating, too – a country large enough to give any journey an epic quality, but with a bakery on every corner. Here, you can go from beach to mountain, Atlantic to Mediterranean, polder to Pyrenees, and taste the difference every time you stop for lunch. If you make it to lunch, that is…

Part travelogue, part food memoir, all love letter to France, One More Croissant for the Road follows ‘the nation’s taster in chief’ Felicity Cloake’s very own Tour de France, cycling 2,300km across France in search of culinary perfection; from Tarte Tatin to Cassoulet via Poule au Pot, and Tartiflette. Each of the 21 `stages’ concludes with Felicity putting this new found knowledge to good use in a fresh and definitive recipe for each dish – the culmination of her rigorous and thorough investigative work on behalf of all of our taste buds.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop): 

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

16. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Nina Stibble

If you are looking for a reason to be cheerful, but in a bittersweet way… it’s a witty novel, which captures tastefully the struggles of adulting. It won the 2019 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. 

Synopsis: Lizzie Vogel leaves her alcoholic, novel-writing mother and heads for Leicester to work for a racist, barely competent dentist obsessed with joining the freemasons.

Soon Lizzie is heading reluctantly, if at top speed, into the murky depths of adult life: where her driving instructor becomes her best friend; her first boyfriend prefers birdwatching to sex and where independence for a teenage girl might just be another word for loneliness.

In Reasons to Be Cheerful Nina Stibbe shows her extraordinary gift for illuminating the vital details which make us human. She is that rare writer who makes us laugh whilst reminding us of the joy, and the pain, of being alive.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

17. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

This is one of the most talked about books in recent years. Especially now that it’s made into a film. This is a great piece of writing and a must read contemporary novel.

Synopsis: For the young Theo Decker, left shiftless and alone after the horrific death of his mother in an explosion at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, that life-defining picture is Carel Fabritius’ The Goldfinch. Retrieved by Theo in the aftermath of the blast, somehow he never finds the courage to return it to its rightful owners.

And thus begins Theo Decker’s descent into crime…

Moving seamlessly from the frantic whirl of New York to the twitchy desert heat of Las Vegas, and from the archaic plunder of a downtown antiques store to the bohemian drawing rooms of high society Manhattan, Donna Tartt’s dazzling third novel tracks Theo’s precarious journey through 21st century America. It is a journey that will combine love and heartache with police tape and shoot-outs, and confirms its author’s place as one of the great contemporary American novelists.

Get it here (or at your local bookshop):

17 Books That You Can Read On Your Next Holiday

What books would you read on your holiday? Share in the comments.

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