If you’re anything like me, packing for a holiday falls into three categories; clothes, books and music. While it can take me less than an hour to fill a suitcase with outfits for daytime (bikinis), outfits for nighttime, accessories, shoes, jewellery and makeup, it can take me at least two weeks to decide what books I will be reading and what music I will be listening to.
Just in case any of you has the same problem, I thought I’d give you my guide on what to take… *massively helpful face*
I like a good holiday playlist and let’s face it, foreign radio stations are fairly wank. If iPods had been invented in the 90s, we would never have been subjected to Saturday Night or The Macarena complete with equally wanky dance moves. For this reason, I usually make a couple.
My favorite playlist is the one I listen to constantly for the first few days of each holiday, lying by the pool drifting in and out of sleep, before I start getting distracted by the amazingly hot waiter who keeps bringing me water. It’s full of music that has a memory for me and I’m instantly transported back to place where I first heard it and the people I was with. This is the playlist that helps me turn off from life, stop thinking about work and start thinking about things I probably shouldn’t be thinking about, which is the whole point of a holiday after all…
I add to this playlist all the time so it’s massive, but here’s a snapshot of my most favourite and evocative tunes that really provide distraction. Feel free to steal.
Counting Crows: Round Here
Fiona Apple: Shadowboxer
Jackson Five: I Wanna Be
Kings of Leon: The Face
Matchbox 20: Kody
The Verve: Lucky Man
Tracy Chapman: Fast Car
The Doors: Light my Fire
Queen: Old Fashioned Lover Boy
Tom McRae: Ghost of a Shark
Duncan Sheik: Barely Breathing
Guns and Roses: November Rain
James: She’s a Star
ELO: Mr Blue Sky
The Wallflowers: Heroes
Empire of the Sun: Walking on a Dream
Massive Attack: Unfinished Sympathy
Snow Patrol: Chocolate
Prince: Little Red Corvette
Oasis: Stop Crying Your Heart Out
For me, a big part of my love of reading is the book itself – the smell, the touch, it’s own space on my shelf – and while I would never encourage anyone to buy a Kindle, I do recognise its usefulness after the hundredth time of gathering up the pages that have come loose and fallen in the pool because the spine glue has melted in the heat.
I tend to take five books with me whenever I go away. I don’t ever assume I’ll read them all, due to my aforementioned habit of falling asleep whenever I lie down, but they’re there if I need them. I think the perfect book list is a combination of old favourites, new recommendations and a classic or two. But, this is just how I do it.
You will never find anything on my list by Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella or Jodi Picoult, because I think they’re nauseatingly trite. You will, however, find the complete works of Jilly Cooper because I’ve loved her forever and I don’t think any summer is complete without some fantasising about Rupert Campbell-Black. I make up for this by balancing them out with a bit of Shakespeare, Salinger, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan. I will also have some crime novels because, for some reason, I love gore. My favourites are Karin Slaughter* and Jeffrey Deaver, they’re really easy to read and generally scare the shit out of me. And, for some genuinely funny, rib-aching laughter Tom Sharpe always hits the right spot.
Over the past few years, here are some books that have racked up the miles with me and I’d thoroughly recommend.
Tom Sharpe: Blott on the Landscape
Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind
Andrew Kauffman: All my friends are Superheroes
John Irving: A Prayer for Owen Meany
Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sarah Waters: Tipping the Velvet
Delphine de Vigan: No et Moi
Homer: The Iliad
Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
Bella Pollen: Hunting Unicorns
Alexander Masters: Stuart, A Life Backwards
Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo
Mötley Crüe: The Dirt
If you’ve never read any Jilly Cooper (Ashley…) it doesn’t really matter which you go for, but there are reoccurring characters and I like things in order, so I say do as Maria von Trapp and start at the very beginning, with Riders.
So there you go, my thoughts on holiday packing. Now, if you’ll excuse me the hot waiter is on his way over with more water. And then i’m scheduled for another nap, natch…
* Re: Karin Slaughter. Be warned, they’re not for the faint hearted and if you are sqeamish in anyway, I wouldn’t recommend them. If you’re not squeamish but haven’t read them, then start with the first one, Blindsighted, because they have reoccurring characters and there’s a central story running throughout.
Lucy is a PR lady, peanut butter aficionado and marmite lover. She’s a big fan of Jilly Cooper and recently came second in her work’s big bake off. You find follow Lucy on Twitter right here.