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Novels that travel well

Continuing the Bookends Beach Party, Rebecca Mascull picks her top three books to take travelling.


We all like a good book to read on holiday. Something to escape from our everyday lives, just like our holiday affords us to do. But what is just as fun is to read a book that complements our holiday, that reveals something about the place we’re visiting and inspires us to find out more. Here is a selection of three such books I read while travelling. Hopefully they’ll inspire you to seek out more about your own holiday destinations.


Copyright: Matt Sims

[1] Kefalonia – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

I visited this beautiful island off Greece about 15 years ago. I’m not great in hot weather but the sea breezes here were so refreshing, the fresh seafood was delectable and the cocktails were rather fabulous. I read the book on the beach and I still have that copy, imprinted with Kefalonian sand and weather-beaten, the pages falling out. In case you didn’t know the story, it concerns the Italian army in Kefalonia during WW2 and a romance between a local woman and an Italian officer. A great read and a little known part of history, which is always my cup of tea.


Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

[2] Spain – The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

I spent a lot of time in Spain in my younger years, as I studied Spanish (along with English Lit) at university. I fell in love with the country during my first visit there aged 19, on a coach tour around Spain, Portugal and Morocco. I read this book on the coach, trundling along the long, dusty roads of La Mancha – yes, I know I should’ve been reading Don Quixote, but I didn’t study Cervantes until my degree the following year. The hot, heady atmosphere of Spain in the 1920s, the passions of the bickering characters, the drama and death of the bullfight and its handsome matador seduced by the Englishwoman with bobbed hair…all of this coloured my view of this beautiful country of contrasts and gave me a flavour of the exoticism Hemingway and his crowd were drawn to all those years before.


Photo by Pavel S on Unsplash

[3] Prague – The Visible World by Mark Slouka

I know this isn’t very summery but it’s for you to think ahead to perhaps an autumn city break, which, if you haven’t ever visited Prague, you simply must! It’s a wonderful city of exquisite architecture – just google doors of Prague and you’ll marvel at how many stunning doorways one city can hold – and it’s full of history. The American protagonist of Mark Slouka’s novel visits Prague to uncover secrets about his Czech parents’ heritage. A gorgeous love story of WW2 Prague unfurls in stunning prose. Reading this novel and walking these lovely streets will be forever imprinted in my mind, a perfect example of the power of literature to bring a place to vibrant life.