The 15 best holiday books you should have read in your life

A hundred years of solitude, The Catcher in the Rye, Don’t Shoot the Mockingbird, The Children of Midnight… By comparing the many choices of readers, authors, publishers and critics established over time, Vogue draws up a non-exhaustive list of the essential novels to have read in his life. A solid starting point for getting to the heart of literature.

Top 15 of the best books to have read at least once in your life

It is an almost masochistic exercise for literature buffs. If we were to have read only one book, one in a lifetime, what would it be? Which novel has taught us our values, transformed our vision of the world, offered a different reading at each stage of life, to the point of always returning to it as a landmark? The answer is of course subjective. However, there are some great classics that over time have brought everyone together, or almost everyone, sometimes for the time they embody, sometimes for the values they teach, for their narrative point of view or simply for the beauty of the sentences. By comparing the various lists drawn up over time by newspapers, publishers, authors and, of course, French or Anglo-Saxon readers, these are the ones who tirelessly dominate the ranking. These are the best-selling books on second-hand book sites! An already very rich base for those who would like to immerse themselves in literature.

In search of lost time, by Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust’s literary monument is at the top of the list, tied with the next eight. For all those who once said, “This summer, I’m reading Proust”, hang on, this seven-volume work alone has transformed the definition of the novel.

A hundred years of solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This great family epic over seven generations is considered one of the most important novels in Latin American literature, just like Don Quixote.

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

More than sixty years after its first publication, Lolita is still dividing. However, on the fringes of a regularly relaunched debate (love story or paedophilia?), it displays a sublime use of the English language to which the translations have been able to give honour.

Gatsby the Magnificent, by Francis Scott Scott Fitzgerald

A flamboyant painting of the American high society of the 1920s, where we can find the beginnings of the great black novels.

1984, by George Orwell

Video surveillance, fake news, hyperlinking, does that mean anything to you?

Anna Karenina, from Leon Tolstoy

A critical look at the Russian nobility of his time, prey to appearances, through the sentimental history of one of the most famous heroines in literature.

J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

Whoever read Catcher in the Rye in Teenage fell under the spell of Holden Caulfield, who in three days of wandering in New York says a lot about how a teenager can reflect on the world, with all the beauty of language tics.

Raymond Chandler’s Great Sleep

Chandler’s first novel is a must for crime book lovers, first encounter with Philip Marlowe, the character who gave birth to the archetype of the private detective.

Ulysses, by James Joyce

The peregrinations of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin City, a modern rewrite of Homer’s The Odyssey, which since 1920 has divided critics and analysts.

Moby Dick, from Herman Melville

All the complexity of the human soul, its fears and obsessions through the story of a whale that has become mythical, whose reading seems perpetually renewed.

The midnight children of Salman Rushdie

Winner of the Booker Prize in 1981, a family epic that tells the story of independent India.

Don’t shoot the mockingbird, Harper Lee.

A sublime lesson in humanity through the story of the young Scout, her brother Jem and their father Atticus Finch, a lawyer appointed to defend a black man in segregationist America.

On the road, from Jack Kerouac

A founding novel of the Beat Generation, where Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs are met, and to be read in all the fulgacity of the original text.

The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. R. Tolkien

Tolkien’s universe is undoubtedly one of the richest ever invented in literature. But who has never managed to finish reading his work?

The trial of Franz Kafka

Published posthumously, The Trial tells the story of Joseph K. condemned to defend himself from crimes he ignores, until he ends up believing in them, in a mixture of the absurd and the real characteristic of Kafka’s work.

Why tourist guides remain essential

In paper, digital or customised versions, these travel books are more inventive and ensure the relevance of their addresses to satisfy the tourist appetite of travellers.

While the paper press is suffering and digital books are booming, Les Guides du Routard, Lonely Planet and others still have a bright future ahead of them. Driven by the growing appetite of the French for leisure, they sell about 10 million copies a year. Portugal is, with Corsica, the leading destination of the moment. Le Routard, which claims a 25% market share and a leading position in France, has sold 90,000 copies of its 2015 edition and 40,000 of its Lisbon edition. In contrast, North African countries have been selling less well in recent years due to terrorist risks and political instability that are holding back tourists.

“Paper is the most nomadic object there is,” says Philippe Gloaguen, the guide’s founding father, as the reason for its success. He decided to stop using it because he was not profitable. He is pleased to see three or four of his 140 annual editions appear in the bestsellers of Weekly Books every week. The Green Guide, published by Michelin since 1926, has the largest circulation of 40,000 copies. And about 50,000 for Le Petit Futé.

Innovations in the content and form of tourist guides

In order to maintain the public’s appetite for tourist guides, only part of which is updated every year, or even every two years, publishers are increasing the number of new products. The formats are smaller, the photos, computer graphics and maps more numerous and the destinations more unusual and rare. Gone are the days when guides were catalogues of good addresses on yellowed paper. For the past two years, for example, there have been pocket green guides with the best of his older brother’s addresses and more illustrations as well as a fun collection for children with drawings. “It allows us to reach a younger audience, who want to get to the essentials when they travel,” explains Philippe Orain, editor-in-chief. The Green Weekend Guides, created in 2009 and surfing on the trend of short getaways, recorded “the strongest growth” last year, with an increase of about 10% in sales.

Le Routard launched this year “La Loire à vélo” in a new format since it was designed for a very nomadic use. The pages are made of rigid paper and bound together by a plastic spiral. Several plans can be unfolded and folded. For the Centenary of the Great War, a guide to the main sites was also launched.

Digital diversification of tourist guides

Lonely Planet and Petit Futé are relying in particular on digital and customised guides to rejuvenate their readers’ homes. Both houses offer guides in PDF (tablet) and ePub (reader) format and offer the possibility to buy only the chapters of your choice. Once made, the tailor-made guide can then be read on an electronic medium or printed. “It took us 6 years to develop the platform to create custom-made guides, and our goal is to sell 1 million this year,” explains Dominique Auzias, co-founder of Le Petit Futé. This independent company, based in Paris, has also launched many applications dedicated to major capitals, but digital diversification has yet to prove its worth. She leaves their competitors skeptical, who prefer to limit their investments for their website and one or two applications. 90% of our business today is the Internet, but only 20% of our turnover,” concedes Dominique Auzias.

Most of the sales are still based on the paper guide. So which one to choose? In this colossal market, the guides spy on each other and copy each other. The differences are fading. All of them offer a selection of addresses of all kinds and at all prices as well as more or less detailed information on heritage and history. The tone and style of writing is then a matter of taste. Methodologies also matter. Some guides use freelancers who live on site (Petit Futé, Le Guide vert), while others send journalists for a few weeks to bring a fresh perspective (Le Routard, Lonely Planet). To see according to your conception of travel, between immersion and mass tourism. “We are the only ones to renew all our guides every year,” Philippe Gloaguen also asserts. Finally, the guides cover the globe differently. Le Routard is launching Australia for the first time this year and GEOGuide is well established in France but almost not in Asia. Finally, the addition of cards, photos, and the weight of the paper also make the difference. Detailed review to prepare for the summer holidays.