It’s a challenge as old as time, or thereabouts.

Screw it up and the gentle Gods of travel and tour buses will suddenly grimace.

Pick like a pro and nothing short of pestilence or plague can derail you.

When it comes to the decisions that matter, nailing the holiday reads is strictly make or break territory.

Granted the march of Kindle means you can carry a virtual library with you to the beach bar.

But for those who still like to feel the pages between their sunburnt fingers, it’s a numbers game you daren’t get wrong.

A relief then that The Cat has its own route map to salvation.

First and foremost, decide your number, stay brave and don’t waver. Sacrificing that extra pair of swim shorts for another Nesbo isn’t smart, it’s weak. Lose your discipline and you’ll be looking for a laundrette or a nudist beach before you can say John Le Carre.

Rationing genres – and authors – also makes sense. Sure, you could cram in a million Agatha Christies but great as they are, you’d soon enough be locked in a cycle of dodgy Poirot impersonations that somehow find their way to YouTube. Same goes for styles…a fortnight of rum punches and rom coms spells a kind of sickness that no holiday insurance will cover. And an airlift home isn’t cheap.

So mix it up; throw in a classic with your crime caper; nibble at a short story collection; go really mad and pack a biography. The variety’s the key.

But find room for the one you love. The Cat understands space is at a premium but personally we never venture far without a perennial favourite lying snug between the socks and smalls, the literary equivalent of the life jacket under your seat only without the light and whistle for attracting attention. Many’s the time a Chandler has come to the rescue in a crisis.

And here’s something that always seems to work well, in a slightly OCD kind of way. Try a read that’s set in the place your actually reading it. So for the masses who lapped up Zafon’s beautiful Barcelona-set ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’ imagine turning the pages in a shaded cafe off Las Ramblas? This works excellently in all climates, by the way. Consider a slice of Scandi-noire wherethe action really happens, a Mankell with the view to match? Who wouldn’t enjoy?

And so to finish, without apology, on an egg-sucking-granny moment. Always go soft back. Being hard on holiday is just showing off.

Enjoy the summer!