What Passes for Holiday Reading

osanightlifebooksMost of the people who come to the hotel look intelligent. I find that encouraging because it suggests they will lie in hammocks reading interesting, controversial, provocative books and then deposit them in the hotel’s leave-your-old-book library on the way out. Every so often I head up there and scan the bookshelves for new stock, and without fail I am amazed. Which of the raucous group that were dive-bombing the pool read I, Claudius? Was it the elderly law professor who lay in bed reading A Secret Affair? And which one of them arrived in a tropical paradise with Only The Paranoid Survive? Well, I can only imagine.

I’m not sure what a left book collection says about a hotel or its guests, if anything – after all if you love a book, you are less likely to leave it behind, but I’ve trawled through enough hotel book collections to know there are patterns and trends, that books at remote wilderness lodges and tropical beach resorts break down into 60% rubbish books*, 20% retro classics, 10% heavy or what, 10% new gems. Anyway, it was raining and I was bored, and so here’s a snapshot of what visitors to the Osa brought for holiday reading this season.

  • David Manuel, A Matter of Roses
  • Cathy Kelly, Past Secrets
  • Michael Connelly, Wonderland Avenue
  • Andrew Vachess, Mask Market
  • Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full
  • James Lee Burns, Jesus Out to Sea
  • Nigel Farndale, The Blasphemer
  • Katherine Paleson, The Same Stuff as Stars
  • Valerie Georgeson, Whispering Roses
  • Ann Tyler, Noah’s Compass
  • Jeffry Deaver, The Cold Moon
  • Karen Thompson Walker, The Age of Miracles
  • Martina Cole, The Graft
  • Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
  • Michael Crichton, The Lost World
  • Mark Haddon, Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time
  • Scott McGough, Magic: the Gathering
  • William Asman, De Cassandra Paradox
  • David Baldacci, Onder Druk
  • Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
  • Ridley Pearson, The Pied Piper
  • Harry Markopolis, No-One Would Listen
  • Ruth Rendell, Rottweiler
  • John le Carre, A Perfect Spy
  • Dan Brown, Meteor
  • BJ Daniels, The Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch
  • Joanne Harris, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure
  • Mary Balogh, A Secret Affair
  • Gordon Korman, Son of the Mob
  • John D MacDonald, The Neon Jungle
  • Tess Gerritson, De Mephisto Club
  • Jeanette Winterson, The Passion
  • John Updike, The Witches of Eastwick
  • Andrew S Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive
  • John Fowles, Daniel Martin
  • P.B. Kerr, Children of the Lamp
  • Joanne Dobson, The Raven & The Nightingale
  • Kai Bird & Michael J Sherwin, Oppenheimer
  • Mary Lynn Baxter, One Summer Evening
  • Jean M Auel, The Shelters of Stone
  • Michael Ridpath, Der Spekulant Roman
  • Great Sporting Mistakes
  • Raymond Chandler, Mord im Regen
  • Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven
  • Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage.

*Re rubbish books  – usually summarised as ‘Tough loner LAPD cop is on the trail of a serial killer when his pedigree shih tzu, Snuffy, unearths a particularly fresh-looking bone  . . .’ – obviously I read them, and I love them, but they are still rubbish books. I’ve never been sufficiently ill or bored or lonely to finish a Dan Brown.

I forgot to take a picture, so this – for any eagle-eyed spine readers – is actually a snapshot taken in Fitz’s library at the beach, where, inevitably, we find a similar mix of the good, the bad, and inspiring discarded books.

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