Author Patricia Nicol reveals a selection of the best books on: Camping

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Author Patricia Nicol reveals a selection of the best books on: Camping

I was camping in Sussex a few weeks ago when the heatwave broke (briefly). For several pre-dawn hours, there was the most dramatic electrical storm: heavy thunder, livid lightning and pounding rain.

All that separated me from this tumult was a pop-up of polyester. I lay awake, excited but also apprehensive that the tent would not withstand it. It did, but I hope anyone packing up a tent today is doing it in easier weather.

Camping in children’s literature often reflects a spirit of carefree adventure: think of Swallows And Amazons and the Famous Five. In adult books, there is more complex stuff to be pegged.

A powerful, original debut novel, The Stranding by Kate Sawyer, is set in a post-apocalyptic future. Twentysomething teacher Ruth takes time off work to go trekking in New Zealand. But her arrival coincides with a cataclysmic global event. Her portable pop-up tent becomes shelter to her and a young man she encounters in a way that would have seemed previously unimaginable.

British author Patricia Nicol has rounded up a selection of the best books on exam results including Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason and Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Raynor Winn’s extraordinary bestselling memoir The Salt Path recalls how, after losing a beloved home in middle-age, Winn and her husband undertook the challenge of walking the South-West coastal path. They camped often, because they could not afford a roof over their heads.

The book is fascinatingly insightful about the blight of rural poverty in many of England’s most sought-after summer holiday spots in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

Possibly my favourite novel read last summer, The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller, is set in a posh American family’s East coast summer ‘camp’ that has been passed from one generation to the next. I don’t think anyone sleeps under canvas in it, but in mildewed, ramshackle cabins with bugs in their walls and nature all around.

The Paper Palace is set amid woodland, by a lake, where people awake each morning and swim. It is its own closed world.

If you find yourself camping as we move into autumn, I hope it is carefree.

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