top ten holiday reads
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10. The Beach, Alex Garland
A zillion and one times better than the film (that’s a scientific estimate), and a very clever update of The Lord of the Flies. Although he’s been away from the bookshelves for a long time, Alex wrote the screenplay for the super-scarey 28 Days movie.


9. Backpack, Emily Barr
Emily Barr used to write a fantastic travel column for The Guardian. Published in 2001, this was the debut novel which managed to win over critics (and me) with its combination of gripping plot and some highly evocative scene-setting.


8. Bright Young Things, Scarlett Thomas
A group of young people respond to a bizarre newspaper ad and end up living on a desert island. Trouble in paradise ensues.


7. Hotel World, Ali Smith
Very stylish and poetic novel looking into the lives of five people connected to one branch of the ubiquitous Global Hotel chain. Bit highbrow for beach reading though.


6. Hollywood Wives, Jackie Collins
As camp and trashy as it gets with some of the most OTT sex scenes ever written. Pure genius. The ultimate airport novel.


5. Them, Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson’s adventures with extremists (from Klu Klux Klansmen to David Icke) are hilarious, and frequently startling. An easy, but eye-opening read.


4. The House of Gucci, Sara Gay Forden
Perfect reading if you are away on a shopping holiday. Or on a yacht on the Italian Riviera. Although a factual book, this story of the fashion empire is racier than most fiction. Filled with stories of true crime, incredible greed, and infinite glamour.


3. A Time Out Guide
Personally, I find them more useful than Rough Guides, but that might just be me.



2. Bonjour Tristesse, Francois Sagan
Recently re-read the English translation and thought it was fantastic. A cool coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the French Riviera, based around the exploits of seventeen year old daddy’s girl Celine.


1.Are You Experienced?, William Sutcliffe
In which Liz travels to India to hug beggars and find her tantric centre, followed by Dave (the narrator) who wants to sleep with her. Does for gap years what No Logo did for McDonald’s.