There’s a new genre on the block. It’s been around for a bit and comes into its own around this time of year… it’s the holiday read.
You can recognise them by the covers.
That’s for the romance market. Or
For those who want the darker touch of crime.
Most of us will go away with one, or other on our kindle, or, in the case of paperbacks, in our luggage.
They will be read at the airport, on the plane, on the beach or by the pool and for many people it will be almost the only books they will have time to read in the whole of the year.
So what makes a good holiday read? There are certain characteristics that they must have.
1 They’ve got to be easy to get into. When you’re stretched out on your sun-lounger, or tying to get comfortable on a plastic seat in Departures you have to be taken straight into the narrative. Whether it’s the finding of a dead body, the kidnap of a child, or boy meets girl, the reader’s involvement must be instant and sustained.
2 The characters have to be strongly drawn and not too complex. This is why Jack Reacher is a great read. He is the archetypical loner and man of deeds not words. A few spare sentences and you know what he looks like and how he thinks, then it’s straight into the action.
3 Which brings me to my final point. The story has to flow and it has to flow fast. There’s no scope for interruption, for having to go back and mull over details or cues, the reader has to be engrossed from the start. After all there are so many other things you might be doing, like wandering over to the bar for a drink, going for a swim, or simply having a snooze.
4 Short chapters, short sentences, not too much description and certainly no angst. Not all holiday reads will follow this pattern but it’s true for many of the most successful.
There are one or two strange people who go away with tomes of non-fiction, philosophy or economics, to while away the hours relaxing in the sun, but for most of us it will be either crime, psychological, cosy, historical and every permutation of those, or novels which at other times of the year are described as “Women’s Fiction.”
Anyone got any titles they can recommend for summer 2017?
PS Picking up the Pieces is now only 99p. Special summer offer on Kindle