It is the height of the holiday season and time for a little light reading. What would you recommend?
This year I took Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy on holiday as the prospect of reading it in the other 50 weeks of the year did not even bear contemplation. It was pretty good, even gripping stuff perhaps, if you like that sort of thing. However, you would benefit from reading some of Clancy's previous efforts to get a complete grip of the main characters and understand what is going on. And if you don't find it to your taste the mere size of it allows it to be used for holding down your mat on a windswept beach or to prop up a dilapidated sun lounger somewhere a little warmer.
Chris Burton, 32, senior engineer, Wiltshire
I would recommend October Sky by Homer Hickham, a book based on a true story about a group of schoolboys living in a small mining town in America who design rockets. In it we hear about their determination to break out of the narrow expectations imposed on them by their school, family and friends and to go about the tortuous process of designing and constructing a series of rockets to attempt to rival those being launched by the American and Russian space agencies. As well as being a novel which (at last) takes science and engineering seriously, this is also a story about a boy wrestling with learning and growing up, and about a community trying to live together.
Steve Mitchell, 31, hydaulics lecturer, Brighton
I took two books on holiday - as always the latest John Grisham paperback and a 'more obscure' novel by Bella Bathurst - The Lighthouse Stevensons. I gave the latter a go and was surprised to find it a fascinating read despite its 'civil engineering' content! It describes one man's determination to build impressive structures in the most inhospitable locations in spite of resistance from shipowners and the wreckers who relied on the bounty from shipwrecks. Now I am back at work I have started the Grisham book which is proving a good antidote to the post holiday blues and the many quality procedures I have to review.
Tom Brunton, 38, QA team leader, Kent
Normally, I save up my NCEs and take them on holiday with me. But this year I left NCE at home and caught up with Jeffrey Archer. I find him a really good author, as he researches his stories so well. They all sound so believable that you wonder if his stories really are fiction.
Having read Kane and Abel, I was keen to read the next in the trilogy, The Prodigal Daughter. It lived up to expectations and had me rivetted.
David Frankl, 49, consultant, Bucks
I am a big fan of crime thrillers, particularly where forensic science is used to track the inevitable killer. I believe one can learn a great deal from fictional novels, as the author has to research the subject impeccably to ensure their writing gains credence. Three of my favourite authors are Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver and Kathy Reichs. Each presents central characters that are as intriguing as the storylines. The books allow the reader to (safely) access the rather dark and seedy world within which most crime solving takes place. Of the three authors I would recommend Jeffery Deaver and two of his novels, The Coffin Dancer and The Bone Collector.
Mark Downes, 29, senior engineer, Birmingham