Friday, September 22, 2023

Holiday Fiction

By Abir

When you’re on vacation, do you take a break from reading crime fiction, never mind writing it? Do you read at all?


Holidays are tricky times for our family. Our elder son is autistic and often finds it difficult to adjust to changes in his daily routine, therefore holidays need to be planned with the precision of a military operation. We need to make sure that wherever we go, he has a room or space where he can chill out, without too many sensory pressures upon him; that he has enough of his favourite snacks to help calm him and get him through any rocky patches, and most importantly, make sure there’s a strong wifi connection for his tablet. As a result, we tend to prefer staying in cottages and Airbnb accommodation rather than in hotels. Then there are the activities and the days out, which can’t be too noisy or busy or which might threaten sensory overload.


Having said all that, it does mean that we do spend quite a bit of time on more leisurely activities: playing board games, going for walks and of course, reading.


Reading for me, has evolved over the years. Whereas a decade ago, before I became a writer, I would read for pleasure, for fun, for relaxation; nowadays, a lot of the time I’m reading to prepare for panels I’m chairing at festivals – often three or four books in a short space of time; or reading early copies of books by other writers so that I might provide a quote for the jacket. It means I often have two or three books on the go at any one time. Right now, I’m reading The Night House by Norwegian author, rockstar, economist and all-round legend, Jo Nesbø in preparation for interviewing him next week; I've just finished Past Lying by Val McDermid (due out next month – spoiler: it’s brilliant); and am half way through The Trees by Booker Prize winner, Percival Everett. It was recommended by a friend and it is fantastic.  Too often though. I find myself reading crime novels not for plot or character, but for prose and style, dissecting a book to see how the author has achieved something – essentially to see what I can learn from them, and while this is great, I do feel I’ve lost some of the joy that I used to get from reading crime fiction.


So on holiday, I like to spread my net a bit more broadly. I will, of course, take a crime novel along (if only to help make a dent in my TBR pile), but I’ll also take along some non-fiction – generally history (though I’m period and geography agnostic – anything from ancient Egypt to the Cold War is fine, though I seem to have an aversion to the Tudors). I also like listening to non-fiction audiobooks on the drive (generally science based – I’m fascinated by relativity and space-time and the multiverse theory, but often lose the thread after the first few chapters). My wife prefers music in the car (not my music though) so the audiobook generally goes off pretty quickly.


I sometimes wish I could go back in time to the days when I could read crime fiction for pure pleasure, because it was, and still is, my favourite kind of fiction. Alas, those days are gone, but I can’t complain too much, because these days, I get to write it.


Have a good weekend


From our most recent holiday. This hotel featured in a TV adaptation of a famous crime novel. Any guesses which one?


Machines à Sous en ligne said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise

Anonymous said...

I read this. Thank you. I enjoyed some of it. Not all. Do you make music too?

Obeseabeth said...
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