Holiday reading

Yesterday my book order arrived. This is the book I’ll read on holiday this Christmas. Yes, I plan in advance what I’m going to read on holiday.


We’re going on holiday to Sri Lanka. This book is set in Sri Lanka. This is not a coincidence. I prefer to read books set in my holiday destination, for several reasons. Now admittedly on this type of holiday where we’ll be moving around a bit and exploring all kinds of natural and cultural sights I won’t have a great deal of time to sit down and read, although there’ll be a few days at the beach towards the end of the holiday when I can relax. But when I do get a chance, I want to read something which is about the place I’m in.

Firstly because this is a way of learning more about the country I’m visiting. Fiction can often reveal aspects of a culture better than a guidebook. But the other, main reason is this: travel is an escape from my everyday life. I leave home behind and go to discover somewhere new. This is also what I do when I read. So it would seem a bit weird to go on holiday to an interesting new place and then to escape from there into another new place in the world of a book. I want to stay in Sri Lanka, even when I’m reading. It’s not like I’m going to go back regularly. So it makes sense to read a Sri Lankan book while I’m in Sri Lanka. I read Ulysses while I lived in Dublin; I read Don Quixote on holiday in Andalucia; I read Cannery Row in California.

How did I find this book? Well first I had a look on Tripfiction, which is a site specifically for helping you choose books based on their geographical setting. For Sri Lanka they featured a lot of Roma Tearne books, but I wanted a second opinion so I did some googling and came across a book blog called Chasing Bawa which specialises in Sri Lankan literature. I narrowed it down to two choices: the other was Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai, but in the end I decided I wanted something more contemporary and less colonial.

I’ll post my review on goodreads when I get back to let you know how it was. And I imagine I’ll post about other aspects of the trip too. The food, if nothing else.

2 thoughts on “Holiday reading

  1. AllisonI. November 21, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    I’m so jealous of your upcoming trip. How did you decide on Sri Lanka?


    • simonlitton November 21, 2014 / 4:24 pm

      I’ve wanted to go back to India ever since our first trip almost 13 years ago. Sri Lanka isn’t India, but it’s close enough to qualify as scratching that particular itch.
      Plus, we have a friend who takes a month off every year and takes her whole family somewhere exotic, living there and sending the kids to a local school there. Last year she went to Sri Lanka and the blog of her experiences inspired us.


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