A short disclaimer:
There are no book recommendations in this post. It mostly consists of an open letter to the internet, which mostly consists of moaning and laziness. There. You have been forewarned.
Dear all search engines of the internet
There seems to be a problem with the language abilities of your search tools. It seems to be affecting all of you, which is odd. I can only assume its a algorithmical virus that has affected all internal dictionaries. The problem is thus: when I type in a query, you provide a mismatching answer.
Allow me to illustrate this further. When I type the words “holiday reads” into your search engine, my eye balls are bombarded with books covered in pastel illustrations and/or pictures of beaches. The (often) terribly punned titles shimmy across the dust cover in swirly calligraphy. The stories you recommend are invariably whimsically “romantic”, most of which would be better suited to a gossip magazine than in the pages of a book.
Note, that I asked for a “holiday read”, not a soppy, patronising “sizzler”.
I would not read this type of book at home, so I doubt my preferences are going to change when I leave the country. Now, you may question my wanting to find a “holiday read” at all. Why not just search for my next read as I usually would: trawling through reviews, flicking through bookshop websites, talking to actual humans. Well, internet, I didn’t want to bring this up but I have a very serious condition. I am lazy. There, I said it. I want to find a book that I happen to be taking on holiday to read, and I want you to tell me which one to read and then deliver it to my door. Or Kindle. I do not feel that I should be discriminated against because of my Laziness (actual disease) so it is only fair that you review your practices and bend to my every whim and start diversifying your wares when it comes to books that are recommended for holidays.
When thinking about broadening your literary horizons, you may wish to consider the following points.
The purpose of the holiday read is three fold:
1) The airport/ airplane. The holiday read enriches an otherwise lengthy and dull wait. It is also a good shopping deterrent. Why do they fill airports with so much stuff that I think I want? FYI, it is just as expensive as in the real world. We must stop being fooled by the duty free tag. Invest in a good book, and those euros are safe.
2) When hungover, holiday read can be placed lightly over the head so as to provide a slight shade. If the holiday read is of good quality, people will rightly believe you to be wildly intelligent and brilliant and not suspect how ropey you actual feel.
3) Whether on a romantic vacay with your other half (yep, just said “vacay”. Deal with it) or a fun filled week with friends, at some point you’re going to have to converse with your holiday companions. When comparing tan lines and sandal blisters becomes a little monotonous, delving into the lives and adventures in a good holiday read is always intriguing; what makes the author stand out, where they got their inspiration from; what do you think will happen next; how will it end?
Yes, holidays are about discovering new lands, slowly poisoning yourself into happy stupors with really strong, cheap cocktails, testing the limits of factor 6 tanning oil and making brave, bold decisions such as the obligatory toe dip in the sea, which is NEVER the temperature that it purports to be. Trickery. But without a good book under my belt, it is a wasted week. Like all my weeks.
So, please all search engines of the internet, why not shoe in a few more intellectually stimulating books into your “holiday reads” lists. And hurry up, I have less than two weeks to play with here.
Ta very much.
Alicia S. Bruce
PS. We also have the little problem of you suggesting “holiday reads for MEN/ holiday reads for WOMEN”. We’ll catch up about that another time.