Books could be your best friends. Open up and you are swallowed up into a world of drama, mystery, adventure and learning. Travel the world through the pages of your books. India's favourite children's writer Ruskin Bond, his Rusty and others will brighten up any holiday. These days, age isn't such a big deal; the young think old, and the old think young. So pick up whatever you think suits you.

Among the hundred things you can safely do on holiday, reading is the most interesting. Just get a book and find a quiet corner. Books are friends who'll take you wherever your mind commands. You'll visit new worlds and people, leap across time, and return refreshed and topped-up.

Your best guideline for holiday reading is to choose what you want to (rather than what you have to) read. To help you, here's a possible list of friends.

Among the most popular writers, Enid Blyton sits on a high throne with her Five Find-Outers, Adventure and School series. No point adding Harry Potter - he's on your list already! R.K. Narayan's stories are gentle and fun to read. Start with Swami and Friends.

Satyajit Ray's Feluda series is full of mystery. His father Sukumar Ray will make you laugh with the English translation of his poetry collection, Abol Tabol. You'll find new meaning in nonsense!

India's favourite children's writer Ruskin Bond, his Rusty and others will brighten up any holiday.

American writer Mark Twain gives you Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They're like the adventures we often dream up, but they also contain important social messages. R.L. Stevenson's Treasure Island is full of swashbuckling excitement with pirates, heroes and rough seas. I once visited the Scottish cave which is said to have inspired him, and I imagined all those thrilling things happening right there!

Adventure and mystery

Once you're through with all the breathtaking adventure, you can breathe easier with E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, which is about a girl named Fern, a pig named Wilbur and a large grey spider named Charlotte A. Cavatica!

Or J. M. Barrie's whirlwind fantasy Peter Pan about the boy who never grows up and his colourful band of enchanted companions, not to mention his arch enemy, Captain Hook!

Let's come down to the present day. The Boggart by Susan Cooper is about Emily who discovers she has unknowingly brought home a mischievous spirit from her trip to a Scottish castle! Another popular book is Judy Blume's Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret, about a 12-year old girl discussing problems with her private god. Slightly more serious: Gary Paulsen's Hatchet about Brian who spends 54 days in the wilderness after a plane crash, and Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons about 13-year old Sal's car trip with her grandparents, but this one may have you sobbing occasionally.

Also try out Indian authors Manjula Padmanabhan, Anushka Ravishankar, Poile Sengupta and Paro Anand, who'll keep you engrossed.

These days, age isn't such a big deal; the young think old, and the old think young. So pick up whatever you think suits you.

Have a fun trip and do let me know of your adventures.

The writer is the author of The Magic Store Of Nu-Cham-Vu. He can be contacted at varma@shreevarma.com.

Must-Read list

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Heidi by Johenn Spyri

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Mahabharatha by Vyasa

The Narnia Chronicles by C. S. Lewis

The Ramayana by Valmiki

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge