A survey of 2248 people by Travelodge found that guests at their hotels favoured celebrity autobiographies as bedtime reading. Top three were autobiographies of Jordan (aka Katie Price), David Beckham and Sharon Osbourne. Assuming that the small number of people (relative to the number of guests Travelodge hotels have) were being truthful, then I’m guessing that Travelodge were inviting readers to compare and contrast our reading habits and feel good that most of us are more literate.
But is it a fair comparison? I could list what’s sitting on my bedside table, but some of those books are for review, some for market research and some reading for pleasure and I needn’t be honest about which books fall under which categories. And would I pack any of them to go on holiday? Holiday reading and home reading may overlap but I can’t be the only one who mostly tackles literature at home to be read against a backdrop of familar routine, and packs the easy read for holiday where I want to focus and explore different surroundings. It’s hardly surprising then, that hotel guests pick the familar stories they’ve probably already read in celebrity magazines and features to aid themselves to sleep in unfamilar surroundings.
The survey doesn’t encourage me to use Travelodge hotels, who were after an easy headline and publicity. Although, if forced, I would be tempted to leave behind my own books and see what they make of poetry.