Actress Tilda Swinton recently listed her ten favourite books for The New York Times - suffice to say there is nothing in there that could constitute a Beach Read for the Med or indeed anywhere else.

First up was Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems by Mahmoud Darwish, described by Swinton as `a Palestinian poet of the Resistance' who "writes like breath." She declares that "his passion for the essence of homeland is universal as well as painfully particular. "

She also picked John Berger's Bento’s Sketchbook in which the veteran scribe writes about Benedict Spinoza, the 17th-century philosopher. 

Then Une Vie Exemplaire by one Floc’h which the actress describes as a `succinct and comprehensive guide for living...'  "From “Live the seasons” through “Lose time in chatting” and “Don’t be afraid to get wet,” to the unassailable “Go from time to time to Scotland,” there can be no better pocket of counsel for any of us at any age."

The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne, she says `in (her) humble opinion, should replace Gideon in hotel bedside tables the world over." She describes the celebrated collection of essays by the celebrated French philosopher as "an examination of what it means to be alive, an essay for every possible constituent part of the human experience, built upon the endearing and radically joyous motto “What do I know?”

She concludes by describing it as "an uplifting and companionable fellow traveler for us all. A timely reminder of how toxic doubtlessness can be."

Her first foray into fiction choices is The Driver’s Seat by the acerbic, sharply observant English novelist Muriel Spark which she pronounces is "completely sick. In all the right ways."

Gavin Maxwell's wilds-of-Scotland classic, Ring of Bright Water, is also in there, about which she fulsomely enthuses, being clearly  alover of Scotland, otters and great swathes of wilderness. Gavin Maxwell: A Life by Douglas Botting is also included. "For good measure, and because of its brilliance,"

Nancy Mitford's charmingly eccentric novel, Love in a Cold Climate is also in her Top Ten."The dottiness and passions of the English aristocracy pretty much nailed in one."

Her choice of The Collected Poems of Norman MacCaig leads to a `See also', to wit, The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. She concludes her august list with Modern Nature by the late British film-maker, Derek Jarman. "Joy and life and more life and more joy and street corners and making a garden out of stones and making films and love."

Thus it goes with La Swinton - not a Sheila O'Flanagan or a Patricia Scanlan in sight, not to speak of a JK Rowling. Good rocky beach reading perhaps . .