I boarded the plane at the start of the hols with lists of Books That Must Be Read Now That I have The Time and stepped off QF139 a month later with a suitcase full of Books That Happened Quite By Chance. Here's what happened in-between:
Even though my hand luggage contained a perfectly good aeroplane read, still the lure of Sydney Airport book store was too great to resist and I emerged with a book that I bought mainly because I love the cover and it has a compelling first sentence: "Arthur Dreyfuss liked big breasts." It's Gregoire Delacourt's latest novel: the first thing you see and it turned out to be a perfect holiday read about looking beyond the surface - for the first thing you see isn't always what you'll get.
I met my second holiday read in a bookshop attached to a café in my hometown of Durban. There is a happy sentence if ever there was one. It was a complete impulse buy, written by an author I'd never heard of (turns out it's her first novel), with tennis (a game I deeply loathe) as a major theme and about three sisters (I don't even have one). Yet its siren call sucked me in, all within the space of a single cappuccino. The book is The Carriage House by Louisa Hall. Don't be put off by the cover of the library copy, it is a great little holiday read.
My third little find was at a local market in a small town on the west coast of South Africa at a second-hand book stall, where to my utter amazement I spotted a book that more than one male colleague had recommended to me (I have no idea why they would do this, as I have never ridden a bicycle in my life!) Gironimo by Tim Moore is the author's reaction to the Lance Armstrong debacle which saw Moore satisfying an overwhelming need to redress the imbalance and do something totally authentic for cycling: ride the notorious 1914 Giro d'Italia on a gearless, wooden-wheeled 1914 road bike:
What unfolds is the tale of one decrepit crock trying to ride another up a thousand lonely hills, then down them with only wine corks for brakes
So, like all good holidays, I started in one place and ended up somewhere completely different. I went with the flow. I was in the zone. And I had a terrific time.
Now back to my lists!