This year I'm choosing Happy Holiday Reads with jaunty yellow and orange covers. It's as good a starting place as any. The kind of book that, when you pick it up, screams out: Sun, Barbies, Vitamin D, Cherries and Margaritas! Just looking at these books is going to put the spring in your step that you need in order to make your way to the nearest pool lounger.
Hard as it may be to believe, my first choice is a sunny book written by a Swedish author: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. Set in Iowa, it has a death in the very first chapter. Sarah arrives in a small derelict Iowan town on an extended visit to a penfriend who is as fascinated by books as she is. The friend has just upped and died and Sarah knows no one else in the town at all. Enter a fascinating array of characters, disarmingly introduced much-loved reads and a bit of romance. Kick back with that margarita and enjoy the ride!
Moving right along with the theme of sunny covers, happiness and... death, my next choice is One Hundred Days of Happiness. No spoiler alert necessary here, because you are told on the very first page of the book that Lucio Battistini is going to die, and the book is structured into one hundred chapterettes, one for each of his remaining days. These turn out to be the happiest one hundred days of his life. This book will make you savour the sweetness of holiday times with the poignant awareness that nothing lasts forever.
Pretty soon I'm going to be winging my way to visit grandchildren in South Africa - my book of choice for the flight is There Will Be Bears - a Young Adult novel. That is correct. My first YA book. Ever. The last time a colleague recommended a YA book to me and I issued it to my account, within ten minutes the February earthquake struck. I took it as a sign. I borrowed There Will Be Bears a week ago, and so far so good. It has as its theme the closeness of relationships between grandchildren and their grandparents (tick). It is a small light read (tick). It has a very yellow cover (tick).
And finally, I am going to sneak in Bill Bryson's The Road to Little Dribbling - despite the absence of either yellow or orange on the cover. Retracing the route he took in Notes From a Small Island, Bryson returns to England to see what, if anything, has changed on what he calls "The Bryson Line". This is a guaranteed feel-good holiday read.
If you haven't tried colour-coded reading yet, now could be your time. Go Team Yellow!