Books to pack

1st August 1997 at 01:00
The sun is beating down, you've got loads of time on your hands and nothing to worry about. An ideal time to soak up some brain-nourishing Proust. As if! For me holiday reading is not about self-improvement, it's about self-indulgence. So, K la recherche du temps perdu, still unread after all these years, is ejected from my baggage to make way for the latest Fiona Walker romp.

To the uninitiated, Fiona Walker is Jilly Cooper with knobs on. Her puns are more outrageous, the characters more hopelessly improbable and unspeakably gorgeous. Her latest, Well Groomed, charts the romance between a volatile, Irish film star and a scatty showjumper called Tash when Tash's grandmother mistakes a cracker novelty for an engagement ring.

Okay, so it's not great art, but it is hugely entertaining. It makes a virtue of its deficiencies - the implausibility of the plot and the cliched characters just add to the holiday fun.

For more high-minded moments I would pack Farley Mowat's biography of Dian Fossey, Woman in the Mists. Mowat tells how the lonely child from San Francisco who failed her second year pre-veterinary medical course travelled to Rwanda and dedicated her life to saving mountain gorillas from poachers. It quotes extensivelyextracts from Dian Fossey's diaries and gives a complex reflection of an arrogant, courageous and controversial woman.

Anne Horner is a sub-editor on TES 1

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