Inspirational and thought-provoking books to read on holiday
Posted on 28/08/2020
Life is a busy ride. Between work, childcare, socialising and generally keeping your head above water, it's often hard to find the time to sit down and relax with a good book. Going on holiday provides the perfect time to catch up on all the reading you've been meaning to do since your last break but finding the perfect holiday book can often leave you feeling a little overwhelmed. This is why we've compiled a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, classic and contemporary reads perfect for when you're reclining on a sunlounger or stuck waiting for your connecting flight.
If Beale Street could talk - James Baldwin
Recently adapted into a successful film, this classic is the perfect combination of epic love story and tragic tear-jerker. If Beale Street Could Talk tells the story of childhood sweethearts Tish and Fonny who get engaged and plan to start their life together. However, their epic plans for the future are suddenly thwarted as Fonny is falsely accused and arrested by racist Harlem police. Baldwin beautifully captures the tremendous, love, passion and strength of this young couple making the novel a must-read for any hopeless romantics out there.
Everything I know about love - Dolly Alderton
Everything I Know About Love is the perfect book for any woman struggling with anything from relationships, friendships, work, grief, ageing or mental health. In her biography, Alderton both hilariously and heartfeltly documents the highs and lows of her adolescence through to her thirties. Everything I Know About Love will make you laugh, cry, and reflect all at once. This is truly an essential read and covers so many important issues with such candid honesty that everyone can find some level of comfort and guidance in Alderton's experiences.
Reasons to stay alive - Matt Haig
This book is a must-read for anyone who has struggled with mental health problems or dark periods in their life. Matt Haig himself reached a true crisis point in his life where he saw no path to carry on living. This book documents his personal journey, practical advice and inspiration to those going through tough times. His style is personal and emotional making his advice feel like it comes from a good friend inspiring you to squeeze every bit of joy out of life.
Never let me go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Set in a dystopian reality, three children grow up together at an English boarding school finding friendship, love and creating fond memories. This idyllic countryside existence comes undone when the true purpose of their lives is revealed. Ishiguro paints a complex picture of deep romance, childlike perspective and deceit that will leave you on the end of your seat as you follow the characters from children to young adults.
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
One of Toni Morrison's most famous works, The Bluest Eye is all about the black female experience through the compound effect of sexism and racism in how this influences one's perception of self. Morrison illustrates the damaging effects of internalised racism, poverty and violent sexism under the backdrop of mid-20th century rural America. This classic is the ideal combination of a thought-provoking, deeply emotional and inspiring choice for your holiday reading.
The Power - Naomi Alderman
The Power is about a dystopian society where the gendered balance of power is reversed. Being a woman becomes synonymous with power and strength as women hold the ability to inflict great pain or even death through electrical pulses from their fingertips. This book will make you really think about the balance of power in our society and the absurdity of sexism through a dystopian reality; perfect to ponder over a long journey.
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
For those of you who enjoy a bit of contemporary history, The Help is a great choice of an inspirational and thought-provoking holiday read. The Help takes place in 1960s Jackson, Mississipi telling the story of three African American household workers and their experiences of friendship, discrimination and triumph in the face of evil.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything
A list of holiday reading wouldn't be complete without this life-affirming traveller classic. Eat Pray Love is the biography of Elizabeth Gilbert which chronicles the journey of self-discovery Gilbert takes after finalising her divorce and embarking on a year-long trip around the world. This book is essential reading for solo travellers and holidaymakers alike!
Normal people - Sally Rooney
Multi-award-winning author Sally Rooney tells the story of two teenagers who grow up in the same Irish town with vastly different lives. This is the tale of how opposites attract in friendship, life and love and how two people who try to keep their distance find it impossible to stay apart. Rooney manages to perfectly encapsulate the awkwardness of our teenage years and the deep connection which can be formed in spite of personal differences.
- George Orwell
Finally, a classic everyone should read at some point in their life. Orwell's picture of a dangerous totalitarian state is just as relevant today as it was upon publication in 1949. This book discusses the issues of government corruption, individual freedom and war through the life experiences of worker Winston Smith who dreams of rising against The Party. Particularly in today's uncertain political climate, 1984 provides an insightful reflection of the dangers of 'big brother' surveillance and corrupt government; ideal for some thought-provoking holiday reading.