How a Holiday Read Hack Makes Tough Stuff Easier to Digest

19th August, 2020

How a Holiday Read Hack Makes Tough Stuff Easier to Digest

Which books made their way into your suitcase on your last holiday? (Remember holidays? Ah, how quaint!)

I normally take a smorgasbord of titles, with something for every stage of my vacation:

Days 1-3

In this wind-down phase, I opt for instantly forgettable, guilty pleasure chicklit that allows my brain to dribble gently out of my ears. Best consumed on a sunlounger with a Mojito. Always donated to the hotel library as a) I’ll never reread them and b) I’m too much of a book snob to put them on my shelf at home.

Days 4-10

Now I’m ready for something with more bite – usually more refined novels, recommended by friends and family, with maybe a couple of Booker shortlisters thrown in.

Thought-provoking, but not too much like hard work. Best digested with a Prosecco and a sea view (do you see the theme here?

Days 11-14

Now I’m fully rested, it’s time for the big guns – generally non-fiction for my own ‘betterment’. These mammoth doorstops account for 25% of my luggage allowance (‘Sapiens’, I’m looking at you).

It’s a tried and tested process that sees me get through a crazily diverse selection of books each holiday, which I love.

But it wasn’t always like this. I used to skip the easy stuff and try to dive straight in to the doorstops, forgetting that I often don’t have the energy for them at the start of the holiday.

And of course they’d never leave my suitcase.

I’ve learnt over the years to gently ease myself into the harder stuff.

And this is a useful little technique you can use too, if you need to get complex or technical stuff over to a non-technical audience.

Ease them in gently with more familiar information. A small bite-sized chunk that’s easy to digest.

Check that they’ve understood it with questions and discussion. Make them feel comfortable.

Move to more technical or complicated information only once you have this solid foundation.

It’s a technique called ‘layering’ that works brilliantly.

Mojitos and Prosecco optional (but sometimes also helpful).

Give it a go!

University of Cambridge