Summertime and the readin' is easy
Stuck for which books to pack in your suitcase? We asked the great and the good for their holiday must haves
Motherwell FC manager
I always like to read two books at once and this summer I've got Will Self's PsychoGeography and Donna Tartt's The Secret History on the go. I find Tartt's novel an antidote to the Will Self, parts of which I don't really understand. I don't know if he does either, to be honest.
Director, Edinburgh International Festival
This summer I'll be re-reading Hanna Krall's The Woman from Hamburg And Other True Stories. Short stories are the perfect option for my hectic summer schedule, as is poetry, so I'll probably read Unfortunately, It Was Paradise, a collection by the Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish.
I'm starting with Between Each Breath by Adam Thorpe. We are going to North America so The Atlantic Ocean by Andrew O'Hagan, his new collection of essays, is packed as well as Scotland And The Union by Tom Devine. In a triumph of hope, Supernanny, on how to have well brought up children is on the list. I recommend Flat Earth News by Nick Davies on the modern media but I'm leaving it behind because it's too chilling.
Lead singer, Twilight Sad
This summer I'll be reading Hunger by Knut Hamson. It was recommended by my friend Dave and to him by Bjork, so I thought if she says it's good I'll give it a go. It's not exactly easy going and has been described as the classic novel of humiliation, not exactly the kind for reading in the back garden with the sun splitting the trees. I will probably read it in sunny Hamilton at chem19 studios, and in a cramped tour van on the way to play some festivals.
Director, Scottish Ballet
A couple of weeks ago I bought House Of Meetings by Martin Amis. I've also got a biography of Nancy Mitford, Noel Coward's diaries, and a biography of Lewis Carroll. The company masseur is going to lend me Shakey, a biography of Neil Young that is apparently out of print.
It was only upon reading Consider Phlebas at the beginning of last year that I found my inner sci-fi geek. I then read Iain M Banks's other nine novels in about as many weeks and have since been in a state of withdrawal. Now that his latest one, Matter, is available, it will soon be skipping to the top of my to-read list and I'll be seen walking into lamp posts all over Glasgow.
My dad has just given me Alasdair McIntosh's Hell And High Water. I soaked up 2004's Soil And Soul and particularly loved the way he unpicked global issues from a Scottish perspective, without being parochial. I studied philosophy but gave up on it because too much of what passed for academic thinking seemed utterly disconnected from reality. McIntosh makes serious philosophical thinking seem essential.
Tam Dean Burn
I am looking forward to Irvine Welsh's new novel Crime and Why Mrs Blake Cried – William Blake And The Erotic Imagination by Marsha Keith Schuchard, wishfully on a Corfu beach but more likely in the Glasgow Botanics.
I always pack half a dozen books for my summer holiday, a mixture of old and new. This year I'll find space for Andrew Greig's timely Stone of Destiny thriller Romanno Bridge, Allan Guthrie's dark crime novel Savage Nights, a biography of Tom Waits (I'm seeing his upcoming show in Edinburgh), and a couple of well-thumbed classics such as Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness. If it rains on the Black Isle then at least I'll be prepared.
This summer I will be panicking about deadlines and blocking out the terror with a proof copy of Kate Atkinson's new novel When Will There Be Good News? I'm also ploughing through Richard Ellman's encyclopaedic biography of James Joyce and coming slowly, but very profoundly, to loath the subject.
The first book in my bag will be Paradise Lost by John Milton. I'm not throwing that in to sound like a proper literary type: I'm working on a novel about evil, demons and the forbidden fruit of human knowledge, and thought I should learn/steal from a master of that domain. To lighten the tone I've got Summerland by Michael Chabon, a modern fantasy about the worst sportsman in history, which should get me in the mood for watching St Mirren when I come back.
Comic book writer
If you are in any way interested in writing, Hollywood, or writing for Hollywood then I urge you to run as fast as you can to Borders for Hollywood Animal And The Devil's Guide To Hollywood by Joe Eszterhas. I know he wrote Showgirls and all those movies we're too cool to rent, but this is one of those rare books by someone who not only actually worked in the industry but made it to the top. It's the most brutal, honest, sad and funny insider text you will ever read.
If you're passing the rainy season indoors try a dram with the genius razor
wit of Agnes Owens in The Complete Short Stories or come of age again, vicariously, with James Kelman's acutely accurate Kieron Smith, Boy. Catching up on poetry means reading Robert Crawford's masterly Full Volume, though if you'd rather get away for light-hearted, exotic fun The Feng Shui Detective by Nury Vittachi will do it.
I got Kylie's autobiography at Christmas and I keep wanting to pick it up. I just love her, and I'm going to see her in Glasgow. I like a lot of disappear-up-your-arse books as well, like Eckhart Tolle's New Earth, which I'm in the middle of reading. I'm seriously thinking about reading
Vernon God Little again. I can't get enough of that book. When I started reading it I was so into it that I tried to make it last throughout the holiday, and finished it on day three. I cried and laughed at the same time. I'm really looking forward to Denise Mina's new book too. I don't think it's titled yet but it sounds fantastic. I'm a big fan of hers.
Having been at the Calabash festival in Jamaica a few weeks ago and heard Derek Walcott's seething poem about VS Naipaul first hand, The Mongoose, I'm looking forward to reading Patrick French's widely praised biography about the man himself, The World Is What It Is. I'm also going to pack AM Homes' search for her father, The Mistress's Daughter, and have just got an advance copy of Janice Galloway's first volume of her memoirs, This Is Not About Me. For fiction, I'll take Rebecca Abraham's Touching Distance.
I've just got my hands on a wonderful book that came out last summer, which I'm reading on holiday in Tuscany just now. It's Alain Ducasse's Grand Livre de Cuisine. It's really fascinating because you've got all the different Mediterranean countries, and in each one there are specialist dishes. The research that has gone into this book is unbelievable. One of the greatest books, cooking-wise, is Memories Of Gascony, by Pierre Koffmann, which goes through the whole seasonality of cooking in France. I dip into it all the time. And Matthew Fort, who was one of the judges on the Great British Menu, has done a book about driving through Sicily on a scooter and finding all the really authentic places. I'd like to get my hands on that one, too.
Stuart Kelly recommends the best books of the summer
An Indian Odyssey
Travel writing with a difference as Buckley traces the route of the Ramayana, the great Indian epic, from north-west India to Sri Lanka, encountering "Marxists and Mystics" along the way. A brilliant blend of travelogue, history and romance.
Stone Of Destiny
Ian R Hamilton
In his own words, the man who stole the Stone of Destiny reflects on nationhood, vandalism, patriotism and the art of the political stunt. This new edition, published to coincide with the film, has an introduction from Alex Salmond.
Artemis Fowl And The Time Paradox
Eoin Colfer, Puffin, 12.99
The seventh Fowl novel pits the teenage criminal mastermind against his most powerful enemy: himself. Artemis tries to save his dying mother, but it just so happens the only cure is a creature he made extinct... cue time travel.ion Of The Whole
A Fraction Of The Whole
Hamish Hamilton, 17.99
A giddyingly good debut novel by a name to watch out for. Young Australian Jasper Dean introduces us to his father, an anarchist, philosopher, ghost writer, strip-club owner, maze builder and lunatic, always in the shadow of his criminal brother Terry.
The Kit-Cat Club
If you want a big, meaty non-fiction read, Field's account of the influential group of 18th century friends is ideal. It started as a free dinner for poor authors given by their publisher; it ended up running Britain and creating modern journalism.
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