My Holiday Reading: Louisa Cameron

Driving to Maine, the bookseller was captivated by Stephen King’s new novel

Photograph: Louisa Cameron

Photograph: Louisa Cameron


In the weeks before I go on holiday I love watching the stack of books rise up beside my waiting suitcase, all the pages I want to be kissed by foreign sunshine, to be ruffled by breezes with seductive names – mistral, zephyr, sirocco. I return home and leaf through them to find grains of sand from distant beaches, bookmarks of exotic feathers or receipts in other alphabets. This year, flying to the US, I thought it appropriate to read Colum McCann’s Transatlantic, a reminder of the multitudes who had made the crossing before me and the first of many stories to enrich my time away.

For the long interstate drives I always bring at least one audiobook, preferably something relevant to the geography I’m traversing, so as I was heading to Maine I’d selected the newly released Joyland, by native son Stephen King. Ironically, the story is in fact set much farther south, in the Carolinas, but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of listening entranced as the highways and rough dirt byways passed by. Against the Stephen King stereotype, it’s neither horror nor fantasy but a rich, compelling story of a 21-year-old who spends the summer of 1973 working in an amusement park, the titular Joyland.

It was excellent holiday fare, with the engaging Devin Jones experiencing heartbreak and romance, the vibrant carny culture, a ghostly murder mystery, deep, abiding friendship and, yes, joy. The reader, Michael Kelly, intimately animated each character using a vast array of accents, his voice lingering like a warm echo long after the story, and my Maine vacation, had ended.

Louisa Cameron is the owner of Raven Books, in Blackrock, Co Dublin

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