Tuesday, September 02, 2008

HELP SOUGHT FROM READERS OF BEATTIE'S BOOK BLOG

when you travel, isn't it difficult to choose exactly the right book!
Sometimes I buy second-hand crime books which I jettison during the time away..but rarely do I pick ones that I really enjoy and then curse myself for wasting all this valuable reading time.

Books you take with you have particular requirements: not too big or heavy; reasonable size print for ageing eyes; not too lightweight reading material; and a decent length so it keeps you entertained over many days. . Should one re-read a classic (Someone claimed that War and Peace should be read eleven times)? Or try a classic one hasn't read before? Ah, but what if you don't enjoy it. You're stuck. A meaty biography? The latest from Kate Atkinson?
perhaps? Or books related to the place one is visitng..and risk overkill?
Buy an expensive new hard-back and risk wear and tear from sun, sand and water?

OK, here's the challengs to Beattie Blog readers: suggestions for one fiction title (not necessarily new) ..and one non-fiction title (again, not necessarily new)

anon

12 comments:

maggie@at-the-bay.com said...

Any slender volume of short stories by a Kiwi, particularly KM. (That's my fiction choice - okay so I cheated a little.) - Is poetry another category and if so - any volume by Seamus Heaney.

Non-fiction - Robert Dessaix - Twilight of Love - Travels with Turgenev. Just the right size and the perfect topics - travel and love.

Tim Jones said...

Apologies for being cheeky, but I can't resist suggesting my short story collection Transported: 27 stories, quite a few under 2000 words (I can never concentrate on planes, so that would come in handy for me), and there are (or at least were) plenty of copies at the Wellington and Auckland airport bookshops.

And for the non-fiction, a change of tone: Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose or Fail to Succeed. That will get you thinking about the places you're flying over, and the place you've left.

Rachael King said...

When I went travelling a couple of years ago I found Jane Harris's The Observations the perfect train read. Once that was finished I managed to find an English language bookshop that had pocket sized editions of Kazuo Isheguro's Never Let me Go and Ian McEwan's Saturday, both of which also did the trick. But it was their size that impressed me the most!

LiteraryMinded said...

I think short fiction is perfect for travel, not just for the brevity, but because each story usually takes you to a different place as well, and when you're travelling you're in the mood for new and rounded experiences. So I would suggest Cate Kennedy's wonderful 'Dark Roots' collection, published by Scribe (Aus). It's also not too big to carry.

Anonymous said...

I always take used books I can read and turf out - I loved reading Amos Oz's memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness when travelling last year. Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives or David Grossman's See under Love would probably be my fiction picks mainly because I've been wanting to read them for ages and not got round to it.

Kiwi Traveller said...

I'D GO FOR NZ SHORT STORIES IN PAPERBACK WHICH I WOULD GIVE AWAY AFTER I HAD READ SO AS NOT TO HAVE ANY EXTRA WEIGHT WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SPREADING THE WORD FOR NZ SHORT STORY WRITERS:

ETIQUETTE FOR A DINNER PARTY
BY SUE ORR

OPPORTUNITY
BY CHARLOTTE GRIMSHAW

FISH'N'CHIP SHOP SONG
BY CARL NIXON

TRANSPORTED
BY TIM JONES

AMD FOR NON-FICTION:
STREET WITHOUT A NAME
BY KAPKA KASSABOVA

Donna said...

On the non-fiction line ... I'd go a group/family biography - Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard about a famous 18th century family or A circle of sisters : Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin by Judith Flanders.

Fiction wise - something funny always goes down a treat. Jasper Fforde would be an excellent travel companion to keep you smiling.

Des said...

The other way to go if you are travelling is to take only one book, but make it a biggie -

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth would keep even a fast reader busy and totally distracted for a long time.

Bookman Beattie said...

Next week the Man Booker Prize shortlist will be out. I suggest that these five books will make great holiday reading if the eight long listed titles I have read so far are anything to go by and most if not all are now in paperback.

Vanda Symon said...

I can't think what to suggest for fiction - so many to choose from.

But for non-fiction, I just picked up from the treasure trove that is upstairs at the University Book Shop 'The Conde Nast Traveler Book of Unforgettable Journeys : Great writers on Great Places'

All I need now is a trip to read it on!

Anonymous said...

thanks to all those who replied with suggestions for books to travel with.....a fascinating range and, at the very least, given me a whole lot of titles to read either on the move or back at home. In fact I don't leave for a few weeks yet, so have time to mull over all the suggestions...and eventually I will try and remember to let Beattie's Book Blog know which ones I pick.
(I might take all the suggestions to my local book shop to display.... Thanks again.)
Anon

maggie@at-the-bay.com said...

I know, I'm being greedy... but if you are planning a train trip, you can't go past 'Stranger on a Train' by Jenni Diski and actually, even if you going nowhere, it is a terrific read and you can have a vicarious ride on Amtrak.