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Holiday reading: a teenager chooses  E-mail

Teenage eReader Katelin Dolton took 12 books on her Spanish holiday. Some were big books, but there was no extra baggage to pay, and no porter was necessary to hump the books from plane to airport, nor onto the transit bus to her holiday accommodation. How did she do it? The magic of ebooks, of course!

THE VERY FIRST thing I put in my luggage for a holiday is my vital reading material. What a pleasure to be able to go to eBookTrove-dot-com and download favourite titles.

Please don't misunderstand. My holiday isn't only about reading. But it is very important to me, just as it is at home.

My holiday with my Mum and another family was to Santander, on Spain's Atlantic coast, to surf. Yes, surfing. Well, to learn to surf.

by Katelin Dolton

Every day of the sunny, glorious holiday was spent in the waves. Two hours every day, and then to the beach to read.

I only needed one book. Before we flew out, I hadn't decided which one. But thanks to my Kindle and eBookTrove I went with a load of titles, so many books that in any other form they would have cost a fortune in extra baggage fares.

A confession

Here's a confession: Before going on holiday I found myself dithering in front of the bookcase. Bookcase! I've always thought that I was a paperback kind-of-girl. But once I had tried with my Kindle, I was really bitten. However, I have to admit that throughout the holiday I was in a total panic that I'd break it and be left with nothing to read. Holiday torture for me.

I turned away from the bookcase and went online. I was half-tempted to download the entire Lord Of The Rings Trilogy onto my new Kindle. But for a reader, the website is a huge temptation.

Eventually I decided, and this was my choice from eBookTrove:
David Copperfield by Dickens

A Christmas Carol, Dickens
Lord of the Rings 01 - The Fellowship of the Ring
Mansfield Park
Twain, Mark - Innocents Abroad
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five
Stieg Larsson - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

In Spain, I leafed through a few – ebook-style. Something about Jane Austen's Mansfield Park demanded to be read. I settled down to really enjoy it.

Surfing-wise, by the end of the holiday I was able to stand even if it was only for two seconds. I am officially a surfer babe.

I love Spain but I'm no sun bather. I get confused when I see people just lying there doing nothing. How are they not bored? Do they sleep for the whole day? Much of the time I like to be in the water but after a while even that gets boring. Thank heavens for good books.

Special favourite

I've read quite a few Jane Austen books and I've loved them all. Mansfield Park is a special favourite now. One of our group, a boy (aged 16) tasted a few sentences and declared it 'totally weird'. I couldn't agree less.

Classics in bookshops get a little groan from me. They're about a million pages long and are in the smallest font ever. However, on a beach, bored senseless, a long book is a great pick.

I really loved the way that Austen writes the novel so you almost feel like you're there.

Mansfield Park, like other Austen novels, is about a young woman, Fanny Price, trying to find her place in the social order. The novel is very complex but that doesn't stop you from understanding every event, emotion and feeling Fanny goes through. She comes from a poor family but is being raised by a rich aunt and uncle.

Since middle class women didn't work, marriage was the only way to climb up or down the social ladder. Fanny's low status can only be determined by this. Normally, marriages of others were formulated on a basis of family standing in society, and personal beauty. Fanny has neither. She has to earn a husband through her character.

Fanny is raised with her cousins in Mansfield Park. Fanny and her cousins, along with Mary and Henry Crawford all shuttled between different households. It is never clear what their true personalities are. Edmund, Fanny's favourite cousin, struggles with his feelings for Mary. This makes you wonder whether people can change.


It is very clear that by the end of the novel that both Sir Thomas and Edmund have learnt something. This can't be said about Maria and Henry.

Fanny's self-denial and withdrawn nature are not only proper for a young lady, but also acts as an excellent defence. Their 'modern' world brings new pressures and uncertainty. Fanny and Edmund, the two most vulnerable characters, seem to become weary of the world. This brings them together. Feelings on both sides grow.

Sitting, reading in the sun, I thought what a pity for them they couldn't go off to learn surfing in Santander. What a shame they couldn't even pick up a Kindle and turn to brilliant Ms Austen's stories. No wonder they became world-weary.

Weather in London