Tips For Reading During The Holidays

A guide to easy holiday reading. Books that will help you relax during the christmas season. How a good read can help deal with holiday blues.

Ah the holidays; a time to catch up on all that DIY you have been meaning to do for the last seven months, a chance to finally take the car in for a service, do all that family bonding you haven't had time for during work hours, take the cat to the vet, mow the lawn, fix the fridge, clean the garage, STOP. It is a time to relax, unwind and of course, pick up a good book. If you are at a complete loss as to what to read to unwind, look no further, below you will find reading to suit all tastes, and stress levels.

First, put away all those self-help books you have been accumulating during the year and meaning to read. You are on holiday so work of any kind, even if it is on yourself, should be abhorrent and therefore something to be avoided at all costs! You will not get in touch with your inner child, while it is screaming that it doesn't want to work, it wants to play. So put them down and don't even try.

The hammock book is one that is easy to read, the vocabulary is not exactly taxing for the brain, but it's fun, light hearted and interesting. My best bet for this section would be anything by Terry Pratchett. He has an ongoing series of books (fantasy, entailing down to earth witches, like Nanny Ogg who has a son she refers to as "˜Our Jason') called the Discworld Series which, though a sequence, can be read as single books on their own. In addition to this there are a number of other books by him and even a children's series called Truckers. A quirky sense-of-humor is needed for his writing, but his stories have fascinated an entire generation of readers, so if you aren't already a Discworld fan then now is the time! Another must read for lying in the hammock, swaying gently between the trees, is Douglas Adams. Also a Science Fiction/ fantasy writer he is known throughout the world as the author of the famous "˜Life the universe, and everything', as well as the series of Dirk Gently books. Again a unique humor, his books are fun, easy reading and though you may spill your Mint Julep as you shake with laughter he is definitely worth the read. Of course we couldn't possibly leave out JRR Tolkien and "˜The Hobbit'. If you haven't read this yet, and you should have, then do yourself a favor and immerse yourself in the land of dwarves, dragons and wizards.

Moving on to books you can read in your garden chair we have authors such as John Grisham. For the more movie orientated among us, yes his books are movies as well, but in fact he wrote the books before the movies came to our screens, and in many cases the plot varies considerably. Always worth a read are "˜A time to kill', "˜The Street Lawyer', "˜Pelican Brief', and "˜Conspiracy Theory', among many others. Generally law based, his books are exciting, fast paced and not too taxing to read. David Morrell comes from the same stable of writing as heavy weights like Sidney Sheldon and Jeffrey Archer. A little known writer, many have been put off his books by the fact that his first one was made into a movie called "˜First Blood', featuring Rambo. This is sad as he is has a few gems among his books. "˜Brotherhood of the Rose', "˜The Fifth Profession' (my personal all time favorite!) and "˜Double Image', being just a few examples of brilliantly thought out, and executed novels. If you are a James Bond fanatic, make sure you never miss a Morrell novel again.

No holiday is complete without lying on the beach or next to the pool, pretending it's a beach. So naturally we have to have our extremely easy to read books here, so that when you get distracted by the Baywatch type lifeguard, it's easy to get back to your reading after they have gone. Judith Krantz ("˜I'll take Manhattan', "˜Princess Daisy', "˜Mistrals Daughter') falls into this category, as does Jilly Cooper ("˜Riders', "˜Polo', "˜Appassionata'). I confess to a (much scorned) love of Jilly Cooper as her stories seem more realistic, as well as having a strong story line without pretension. Great for gaining insight into the "˜horsey-set' her books have been read by pony clubbers worldwide (often under the duvet covers as they tend to be a tad on the raunchy side). A wonderful easy-going read. For the more romantic among you, there is always Danielle Steele. A prolific writer and adored by many world wide, she is often compared to a Mills and Boon novel. Her writings include "˜Going Home', "˜Fine things' and "˜Journey'. Harold Robbins is also an easy read. His books tend to lean towards the sexual, but if you have no objection to that then his easy style will make his books a fun companion.

Of course summer storms are frequent visitors, especially if you live in the southern hemisphere, so ensure you have a number of books handy for when inside reading is required. Jonathan Kellerman ("˜A Butchers Theatre', "˜Private Eyes', "˜Silent Partner') brings his Psychologist character, Alex Delaware, to life with his sometimes disturbing but always fascinating thrillers. Typically you get a glimpse into the characters private life and follow the story line with each progressive book, but that said, each book can be read on it's own with no regard to sequence. The author's wife, Faye Kellerman is also a fantastic writer, and a favorite among book clubs. Her style is easy to understand and her characters are thought provoking. For the horror lovers, there is always the old standby of Stephen King. Most of his books are now classic horror stories such as "˜Carrie', "˜It' and 'Firestarter'. The movies lack any of the sparkle one experiences in his books so it is of little use to hire the videos. Terror is born and bred in the mind, and terror begets terror.

You want to unwind and of course the best way to do that is to laugh. Erma Bombeck ("˜If life is a bowl of cherries, why am I always in the Pits?'), provides insight into families, child rearing and errant husbands, in a way that has left many humorists gasping for breath with mirth. Funny, irascible, and excruciatingly close to home, there is not a mother among us that won't recognize herself in these pages. Calvin and Hobbes cartoon books are highly recommended as being funny as well as sometimes painfully poignant. The "˜Madam and Eve' cartoon series began in South Africa, and though much of the humor is particular to their area (the mielie lady being a prime example), this is still a fascinating and highly amusing read.

Holiday reading should be done to relax you, but if you have been wanting to read Homer's "˜The Iliad', then go right ahead, or should your wish be a Barbara Cartland novel, then give that a try. Remember reading is about using your imagination, and expanding your horizons. So try to read something you wouldn't normally pick up, even if it is your daughters Sweet Valley High or your sons Goosebumps. It's still a book, even if it does come packaged with green slime.

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