The Countdown Begins


In a week, I’m off for two weeks to the Caribbean – Barbados for one week, and St. Maarten for the other. As this is my first holiday in 2009, you can imagine how excited I am! I’ve been looking forward to this break for the last couple of months, and I can’t believe it’s almost here. Honestly!

I’m all prepared for a lazy holiday, where I spend most of my time drinking margaritas or pina coladas, or go swimming, or snorkeling, or trekking, or just taking in the breathtaking beauty of the white sands. Of course, a book list to go would be mandatory! I’d hate to find myself in paradise without a good book to read, and I’d be miserable if I found myself to be a victim of a ‘bad’ book (read, a book I didn’t enjoy). For some time, I have been “saving” books – books I can’t go wrong with, and books that I’ve been looking forward to reading for ages. So, here’s the likely short-list:

  1. Sarah Waters – Fingersmith : Ok, I’m running about seven years late. Yes, I know it’s The Little Stranger which is the flavor of the season, but, I really want to read one of her earlier books, and this one’s been rated very highly by most people. Even Amazon has a 50:3 ratio (50 five-star ratings, and three one-star ratings), so, you know – it makes it to the list.
  2. Haruki Murakami – Kafka On The Shore : I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been saving this book for the past eight months, plus, it’s part of the Japanese Literature Challenge 3. What better time to bring it out?
  3. Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Angel’s Game : I loved The Shadow Of The Wind, and this book starts off in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books as well. How can I go wrong with it? However, this is a hardback, and while traveling, I’m not sure hardbacks are the way forward.
  4. Daphne Du Maurier – Rebecca : A while back, you probably saw this on my “I’m reading” widget, because well – I started reading it. However, after eight pages, I put it down, because I felt I couldn’t do total justice to the book if I continued to read it while commuting. It’s a book I want to soak in, and enjoy, and hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do so.
  5. James Scudamore – Heliopolis : I’d feel guilty if I didn’t try to read at least three or four of the books on the Booker long-list of this year. I’m reading The Wilderness at the moment, which is great, but that just morphs the baker’s dozen into a layman’s dozen. I don’t have this book at hand yet, so I might need to pop into Waterstones or something next week.
  6. Angela Carter – The Bloody Chamber : This is literally a last minute addition. I loved The Magic Toyshop, and this went straight on to my list after reading that. It’s a book of short stories, which might be a nice change, as I haven’t read short stories in the longest time. The only dilemma with this book is, where can I find a copy with a cover as stunning (if not more) as The Magic Toyshop’s.

The other books that I have stacked neatly, but are unfortunately going to miss out on the Caribbean include: Out {Natsuo Kirino}, The Cellist Of Sarajevo {Steven Galloway} and How To Paint A Dead Man {Sarah Hall}. Would you guys swap any of the books I’ve included with any of the above three? How about with any of the other books on the Booker long-list? Or, do you have any brand new recommendations? Maybe something that is actually set in the Caribbean?

What kind of holiday reading are you inclined to do? Do you also find yourself ‘saving books’, to dig out when the time is right?

16 Responses to “The Countdown Begins”

  1. I went to St. Maarten for my honeymoon and I’d recommend bringing lots of books as there isn’t much to do apart from read on the beautiful beaches!

    That is an amazing list of books you are planning to take. You could end up reading several of your all time favourites on one holiday. Have fun planning for your holiday and have a great time when you’re there.

    • Thank you. I was browsing the St. Maarten tourism site, and it seems to be good for relaxing, and shopping. I’m not the biggest fan of the latter, so hopefully, I’ll get a lot of reading done. After seeing your comment though, I might include a couple of more books – just in case, although one of my friends who’s coming along is getting Purple Hibiscus, and a couple of other books. I might include Cloud Atlas as well, now that I think of it.

      Argh! So much confusion :)

  2. Aw, fun! I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself at the Caribbean! Though I’ve never been there, I’ve heard it’s bee-yoo-tiful!

    As for your reading list, well, I’m loving the prospect of reading your reviews on all of them really, especially the first three! I’ve not really heard of the last 3 on the list, but by the looks of it, they should make interesting reads.

    I normally read books taken from the local libraries, so I often don’t have a choice of ‘saving’ books, though I’m pretty sure I would, if given the chance. Already I’m hogging so many library books on my shelf, the librarians must think me weird for borrowing so many at the same time!

    • I don’t do library books that often now-a-days. They stress me out, by sitting their screaming,”read me now, and remember to take me back on the due date, else your fine will exceed my cost” followed by an evil cackle. I’ve started frequenting second hand bookstores, or using ReadItSwapIt instead.

      Also, I wasn’t allowed to take out more than six books, which sucked. Am sure the librarians love you for it, really. :)

  3. What a great list of books. I am yet to read Fingersmith but may very well take it on my trip in two weeks as its been one I have been hankering to read for ages and may stop my fear on a 5 hour flight!

    I think its great to save books for trips. As long as they don’t take you over your luggage limit.

    • I’m quite looking forward to reading Fingersmith. Would love to exchange notes, if you read it as well.

      Saving books is something I learnt to do after being stuck with a really dull book (in my opinion), and no backups while on holiday. It’s a mistake I’d rather not repeat!!

  4. Oh oh!

    1. I am SOOOOOO jealous of your trip to the Caribbean!
    2. I am SOOOOOO jealous of the time you are going to have to read so many great books!
    3. I am SOOOOOO a fan of 4/6 of the titles and would look forward to reading reviews of the other two, especially Kafka on the Shore.

    You know how I feel about Carter and The Bloody Chamber but I’ll say that it’s a slim volume so easy to pack and you would probably manage to read it one day lying in the sun. As for the cover, unless you buy the American edition (cover art by the same artist as for The Magic Toyshop) then you are not going to find one for The Bloody Chamber as wonderful as The Magic Toyshop.

    Did you see this post I wrote? The relevant Carter covers are at the bottom and the link for Caustic Cover Critic will show you The Bloody Chamber.

    Fingersmith and Rebecca are two of my favourite novels of all time and I have just finished Heliopolis this week (review pending) and loved it.

    • Oh! If I could be jealous of me, I’d be jealous too. If it makes you feel better, I haven’t taken a single day off since November, and in fact, last couple of months, I’ve been doing over twelve hour days quite regularly!

      Yeh, I did see that post, and I absolutely loved it. I might end up in NYC next month, so I’m wondering if I am actually shallow enough to hold off buying this book ’til I go there. I don’t know – I’d like to think I’m better than that, but I’m not convinced. That’s how much I love The Magic Toyshop’s cover. Now, I feel wrong!!!

      Just saw your review of Heliopolis, which you’ve definitely got me interested in. As for both, Fingersmith and Rebecca, I’ve heard so many brilliant things about them, that I can’t wait to get cracking on them.

  5. Fingersmith was fantastic! and hard to put down. It’s the only book I’ve read by Waters, but I’ll definitely read another later.

    • I quite want to read The Little Stranger as well, considering the rave reviews it’s got, plus the fact that it’s on the Booker long list. I can’t wait to read it, and compare notes :D

  6. Jealous! I bet you’ll have a wonderful time, especially if you take ‘Rebecca’. It’s just the kind of book that you needto spend lots of sustained time with to enjoy properly.

    • I did start Rebecca a couple of weeks back, but felt wrong trying to read it while commuting, with people pushing their elbows down my nose, or trying to give both me and my book the swine flu!

      I’d like to dedicate a couple of days to finishing it and enjoying it, so I can’t wait. However, I think Fingersmith’s top of my list at the moment.

  7. 13 nerdywordyandthriving

    I’ve read The Bloody Chamber and loved it. It’s a really unusual book, but extremely interesting. If you liked the Magic Toyshop, I’m sure you’ll like this one, even though the characters are harder to relate to :)

    • Are all the characters like the evil knievel puppet master? I really want to read The Bloody Chamber now, but, I actually might hold out for the American cover (and I can’t believe I actually said/think that!!!).

  8. Grrl, you can’t go wrong with those books in your luggage! Better make sure you will be doing some sightseeing as well! LOL

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