My Favourite Holiday Reads

logo-2014I don’t know about you, but I do love to take a good book with me on holiday, and with the invention of e-readers, you can now take a whole library away with you, whilst taking up barely any space in your suitcase or handbag. Holiday reading should be something which is light but engaging, something which allows you to relax whilst diving into a good story, and as it’s World Book Day today, I thought I’d give you a selection of some of my favourite holiday reads, which might inspire you next time you jet off somewhere nice.

Anything by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors, so it’s hard for me to narrow it down to just one of his books, however A Walk in the Woods was probably the one which got the most belly-laughs out of me! This might not be one to read if you plan to spend a lot of time lounging around the pool or beach by yourself, as you tend to look like a bit of a loon doing random outbursts of laughter, but if you want something to add to your holiday happiness, I wholeheartedly recommend Mr. Brysons particular brand of wit.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Okay, so this might not be the most light-hearted of books, but Lisbeth Salander is the ultimate feminist hero and The Millennium Trilogy from which this book comes is genuinely some of the most compulsive reading that I’ve ever experienced – you know that feeling of slight disorientation with real life when you put the book down, because you’ve been SO immersed? That’s how addictive these books are!

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year – Sue Townsend

Yes, it’s that Sue Townsend, of Adrian Mole fame. This book is a real departure from her early works, but the wit and ability to weave a great tale remains, and this book is a brilliant sun-lounger read. It’s not War and Peace, but it’s on the decent end of the ‘chick-lit’ genre and is very enjoyable.

Billy – Pamela Stephenson

If you like a biography, there’s not many better than Billy Connollys, which is written by his wife, Pamela Stephenson, who is also a noted psychologist. Hysterically funny in places, heartbreaking in others, it’s almost hard to believe that such a troubled life can produce someone with so much humour in their soul, but this book is compulsive reading, nonetheless and gives you a real insight into the man behind the jokes.

A Song of Ice and Fire – George R. R. Martin

If you’ve not heard of this series of books, you’ll no doubt have heard of Game of Thrones, the TV show adaptation of them. I’m still on the first book, whilst Husband has read his way through all of the existing 5 books (and is now patiently waiting for the final two!). Even if you’ve already watched the show, the books are still well worth a read as the stories are so much richer and more in-depth in the novels, and I honestly think you’ll like these books even if you aren’t a fan of the fantasy genre, as the storylines and relationships within the books are about SO much more than dragons and giants.

If you need help choosing your next holiday read, Thomas Cook have put together a fun little  World Book Day app which allows you to choose you to input your destination and your favourite genre and it’ll tell you exactly which book you should take with you on your holidays!


The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race – Kids Book Review

We’re HUGE fans of reading, here in the Mum’s the Word house and although Sausage loves all of the usual classics, we also try to expose her to stuff which isn’t so mainstream. That’s why, when we were asked to review The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race, I did that thing that you should never do…I looked at the cover and decided that it looked like something we’d love.

The Weasel FC High Res

Luckily, my initial assessment was absolutely spot-on!

The story revolves around a race between the various animals in the title and the book actually had us all in stitches. We’re huge fans of the slightly surreal and it reminded us of the original Octonauts books (which were pretty different to the current line of books and merchandise) or some of the kids books written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. One thing we’re pretty hot on in our house is finding stuff which isn’t patronising to kids – we’d rather explain words to Sausage than have her shielded from them, and The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race seemed to talk to kids in a totally non-condescending tone, which is something we love.

The illustrations are absolutely stunning in a modern art kind of way – the blocky colours and quirky characters really sparked Sausage’s imagination, as did the verse used to tell the story. She’s really into poetry at the moment, particularly books by Dr. Seuss, and this fits perfectly with the types of stories she loves.

This is one of those books which is requested to be read at least every other night, sometimes more, but I don’t even mind reading it so often as it’s just a delight. James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon have done an amazing job of creating a truly magical kids book which I can see becoming an abiding classic. I hope Sausage keeps her copy and reads it to her kids and grandkids in the future.

(review contains an affilliate link. The book was sent to us, free of charge, for the purposes of the review, but the opinions are our own)


Best Libraries in the UK

There are few pleasures as great as losing yourself in a good book, especially during the winter months. The ebook revolution has meant it’s easier than ever to enjoy books on the go, but spare a thought for Britain’s historic libraries. With many of our country’s finest reading rooms under threat, it’s time to appreciate anew those beautiful buildings where you can while away the afternoon curled up with a good (borrowed) book.

Central Library, Edinburgh


Edinburgh’s Central Library is an oasis of calm in the middle of a bustling city. It’s slightly more relaxed than the huge National Library across the road, and has an excellent selection of books, from new releases and graphic novels to a section dedicated to the history of Scotland’s capital city. There are plenty of nooks and crannies, perfect for grabbing a bit of peace, and the gothic architecture will leave you feeling like you’re starring in a 1940’s film. Cycle there in one of these gorgeous day dresses with a satchel on your shoulder for a truly picture-perfect afternoon!

The British Library, London


London has more than its fair share of excellent libraries, but true book enthusiasts can’t look past the majestic British Library. Boasting over 150 million items, with 3 million new pieces added each year, you’re sure to find a book to inspire you. The library also has exhibition galleries, which show off legendary collectors’ items like the Lindisfarne Gospels, original Beatles manuscripts, and the world’s oldest printed book, the Diamond Sutra. This season’s major exhibition is entitled Georgians Revealed and looks to be as fascinating as we’ve come to expect – don’t miss it!

The Library of Birmingham, Birmingham


The new library on the block opened in September 2013. While a visit to Birmingham usually involves several hours in the Bullring enjoying retail therapy and large quantities of fast food, it’s well worth making a detour to visit this unique building. The architecture is certainly striking, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The interior space is modern, bright and vibrant, with a café and plenty of places to sit and read. Their selection includes one of the best collections of works by Shakespeare, and an exhibition of children’s books and games dating back to the 16th century.

Post provided by guest author, Kira.