Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Vacation Reading

Tomorrow David and I are heading to Florida. Perhaps I mentioned how utterly exhausting our trip to Spain was and how while we were still there I was desperately imagining white sand, a beach chair, some sort alcoholic beverage beside me, and a book.

This little long-long weekend getaway is our answer to this.

This leaves me wondering...what book should I take?

There are two books I am currently reading. David and I are both working our way through the Harry Potter series (he for the first time, me for the second). I could easily finish "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", but it's quite large and a library book to boot and if it were left behind someplace I would be angry.

I am also about halfway through "The Year of Endless Sorrows" by Adam Rapp. I picked this up at the Guthrie gift shop when we were there for a play (Rapp is a playwright as well). It's about a guy from Minnesota who moves to New York, gets work at a publishing company, has acute knee pain, and is working on a novel about a guy with acute knee pain. And in the novel he is writing, the knee is an alien or something weird like that. I'll admit...I got sucked into Harry Potter and haven't touched the book for months.

Part of the problem is that I read ahead...flipped forward to the last chapter and sort of skimmed. I do this with most books I read...even Harry Potter and I've read it. I know how it ends! So, I read ahead a bit and the book actually ends on a rather depressing note. What did I expect? It is called "The Year of Endless Sorrows." That being said, it is also humorous without trying too hard, full of characters that have character, and...and...this is why I don't write book reviews. I don't know what to say. But I picked this up in the store, read a few pages, and had to buy it. He creates a world where you can feel what these characters are feeling. You can see these guys in their crummy apartment, feel the main characters boredom at his job, his sense of hopelessness and longing for his typewriter. That...and there is a conversation between the main character and his mom that had me laughing out loud.

I also grabbed "Brave New World" out of the backroom. A classic...I should read it. And it is pretty compact and would fit easily in my purse. I can see on the inside cover that this book once belonged to my mom's friend and step-dad's first wife, Rose. Her phone number and address are in there...332 Clark. And she obviously owned this before she was married because it is her maiden name written inside. Rose had beautiful handwriting. Every now and then I'll grab a book from my mom and step-dad's house and once in a while there will be notes in the margin in Rose's handwriting. I find this sort of comforting.

Another book I recently purchased is "Literature from the Axis of Evil: Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other enemy nations". Apparently, these other enemy nations include Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Libya. Would this book create any suspicious looks going through security? It is a "Words Without Borders" anthology...the goal of which is to humanize the individuals in countries the United States has deemed enemy nations.

I also have a book called "Nocturnes" which is a collection of short stories by Kazuo Ishiguro. I like his writing, although all I have ever read by him is "Never Let Me Go" which about half-way through I wanted to throw against a wall. That is of those books that once you realize what is going on, you are too sucked in to put it down...yet you almost wish you had never picked it up.

On my Kindle I've got "Bottom of the 33rd" which is about an incredibly long minor league baseball game. I love it. It isn't just about a game...it's about all the people involved, from the umpire, to the pitcher, to the owner, to the kid making hot dogs. I've also got "The Warmth of Other Suns" about the migration of African Americans to the north in the first part of the last century; "Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World" which has something to do with money; and a book called "Cooking Solves Everything" by Mark Bittman that I don't even remember buying. Oh yes...and how can I forget? "The Works of P.G. Wodehouse"...this one was free. I'd finally see enough references to P.G. Wodehouse and how witty he was that I figured I should just read something by him.

I also considered "Catcher in the Rye" which I've read about three times. Believe it or not, I used to carry around a copy of this in college. During finals week, when I was in the library all the time, I would read a chapter or two as a break. Other people thought this was weird.

If I had a copy, I would probably take "To Kill a Mockingbird" because I read it in high school and I am curious about how it would read differently to me 20 years later.

So, that's it. Now you've got somewhat of an idea of the sorts of things on my reading list. Most likely, I'll pick up some crummy mystery novel that I can leave behind in the airport lobby and never miss. What do you think I should read while I am on vacation?

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