From the editor
ONE of life’s great pleasures is choosing books to enjoy during the summer holidays. Running my finger along the many-coloured spines jammed into my bookcases at home, I hunt out volumes that have been nagging at me, an eclectic mix of new fiction, classics and history, leavened with a smattering of thrillers, and make a tower on the floor by my open suitcase. The process is animated by anticipation of lazy afternoons spent with my feet up on a shady deck with a sea view, gently bathed in salty sea breezes.
Whittling my reading choices to a manageable stack is an agony as I negotiate a balance between nourishment for the mind and the reading equivalent of junk food (a typical choice would be packing Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov next to Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary). At the top of my pile for this summer are Gillian Mears’s Foal’s Bread, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (why haven’t I ever read it?), Alice Munro’s latest collection, Dear Life, Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah and Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novel Standing in Another Man’s Grave. Each one is a paperback I can curl up with, drop, tread on, crush, spill tea on and fall asleep over without provoking an e-reader emergency. In this weekend’s Review, literary editor Stephen Romei takes the pain out of the process with his handpicked book lovers’ selection of dozens of the best reads for the holiday season (or to top up Christmas stockings), whether your passion is biography or crime, science or sport, poetry or politics, novels or humour. When the dazzle of light or the roar of the surf overwhelms, retire to tent, hammock or couch with a book.