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The essential part of any holiday is grabbing a good novel at the bookshop or the airport before you go. For some, it’s an escapist romance or a gripping crime thriller. But what if fizzing rom-coms or murderous plots don’t exact meet your reading criteria?
Here is my list of the top 10 classic reads that will keep you entertained on your sun lounger and still scratch that literary itch!
If you love an atmospheric mystery….
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
This book has it all - set in the gothic and eerie Manderley, a manor house on the wild shore of Cornwall, the young protagonist is swept up in a holiday romance with a man she doesn’t know much about at all. She soon realises she has stepped into the shoes of his enigmatic first wife, Rebecca - who died a mysterious death several years ago.
If you’re on the beach but you wish you were in France…
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s classic is a whirlwind tour of Paris in it’s swinging hay-day of the 1920s. When a plane ticket is out of reach, this short but dazzling travelogue might just do the trick. As a poor expat eeking out a living from his writing, Hemingway was still determined to enjoy all the degustatory pleasures that Paris had to offer. At just under 200 pages, this slim read will fill a lazy afternoon very nicely.
If you want to moved and inspired by a memoir…
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Just because you want a book to reach from the comfort of your beach lounger does not mean it can’t be meaningful or memorable. Even if you remember this from your high school reading list, it is worth a re-read. In Angelou’s classic memoir, she recounts her childhood experiences marked by painful bigotry and violence as well as her early years in San Francisco, where she fell in love with literature and the written word. Read it to be transported into one of the finest minds of her generation and be inspired by her devotion to books and reading.
If it’s sunny and warm but you want it to be dark and gloomy…
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
If long nights and palms trees swaying in the balmy breeze make you long for driving rain and cozy nights in by the fire, why not give Frankenstein a try. While we’re all familiar with Frankenstein hideous monster with a green face and a bolt through his neck, lots of people don’t know it was the first science fiction novel, written by a woman to boot!
If you want a fulfilling and feminist love story….
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Austen or Brontë might be a bit of a heavy beach read even the most seasoned bookworm. Published on the cusp of the 20th century, Chopin’s elegant novel is a gently subversive feminist tale of one woman’s determination to live life by her terms, no matter the cost. Set in the New Orleans and the Louisiana gulf coast, it’s protagonist finds herself to be utterly unsuited to conventional life. It was ahead of it’s time in its depiction of an independently minded and flawed woman free of moral judgment or condemnation.
What are your favourite beach reads? Comment below!
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