It’s a cold and wet and dark day in Manchester so my thoughts, naturally, turn to my upcoming holiday in Mallorca and what books to take. (And yes, the postcard above is from the place I’m going to!)
I LOVE choosing holiday reading – getting the selection just right: something light (preferably short stories which you can pick up and put down easily) and something which sustains your interest.
For my short stories I did think about the new Jean Rhys collection, but then , while I was thinking about what meal to prepare on Saturday, I suddenly thought why not take a cook book? Something easy to pick up and put down and so I decided on an Elizabeth David, a writer who covers history and food and doesn’t spend too much time faffing over measurements etc…
It has to be ‘Mediterranean Food’, for obvious reasons!
I do think its sometimes good to take literature from the country you’re visiting, so first up a classic of Catalan literature, ‘A Broken Mirror’ by Merce Rodoreda, which I bought way back in February. First published in 1962 and translated in 2006. ‘A Broken Mirror’ charts the three generations of an aristocratic family from Barcelona in the 1870s to the Spanish Civil War, ‘the story of a splintering matriarchal dynasty founded on love, lies, secrets and betrayals.’ Perfect!
‘Cry, Mother Spain’ by Lydie Salvayre’ was first published in France in 2014:
‘Montse lives in a small village, high in the hills, where few people can read or write and fewer still ever leave. If everything goes according to her mother’s plan, Montse will never leave either. She will become a good, humble maid for the local landowners, muchisimas gracias, head bowed, sins confessed, with every Sunday off to dance the jota in the church square.
But Montse’s world is changing. Franco’s forces have begun their murderous purges, just as cities across Spain are rising up against the old order. Meanwhile, her brother Jose has retuned from Lerida with a red and black scarf and a new, dangerous vocabulary, and his words are beginning to open up new realms to his little sister. She might not understand half of what he says, but how can anyone become a maid in the Burgos household when their head is ringing with shouts of Revolucion, Comunidad and Libertad?
The war, it seems, has arrived in the nick of time.’
Whether I’ll actually read all these books is another matter altogether. Unlike others I’m not a particularly fast reader…and it wouldn’t be the first time that the books I actually board the plane with have changed dramatically!
Hurrah for holidays!