Air travel and family time both put certain constraints on packing, after a couple of thick woolly jumpers the next most important thing to go in the case is as much wine as I can carry for family consumption (and a bottle of something harder to sedate the Scottish one should he feel the need for it). I reckon that leaves me space for four books; no hardbacks, nothing to ambitious (failed to read Ulysses on two different trips), but something with a bit of substance to it, nothing I can read in a day however tempting it is, things which will cover a variety of moods, and finally books which might also appeal to my travelling companion if the whisky runs out and it really does rain all the time.
So...how hard can it be to make that sort of selection? That’s right, I’m struggling with the choice and have been doing so for some days, but right now this is the shortlist:
Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Jamaica Inn’ – I’ve always failed with Du Maurier, but feel like I should love her, and if I buckle down I might just crack it – and it should appeal to both of us.
Elizabeth Von Arnim’s ‘The Pastor’s Wife’, I’ve just got this and it’s very tempting. She’s likely to keep me absorbed when I do want to escape into a book.
Compton Mackenzie’s ‘Whisky Galore’ – we both want to read this and so it’s almost certainly coming with me, especially after enjoying ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ so much.
A S Byatt’s ‘The Children’s Book’ – I’ve wanted to read this since it came out and I don’t doubt it has a bit of substance to it!
Wilkie Collins – ‘The Law and the Lady’- it was Shetland summers which started me off on a love for Collins, so what better place to revisit him?
Rumer Godden’s ‘In This House of Brede’ which is another newish acquisition and another one which I hope will be utterly absorbing.
Vera Caspary’s ‘Laura’ – pulp fiction bought on a whim and actually looking very tempting about now...