Friday, February 24, 2012

Cruising

Eight days in the Carribean, hotel nights and plane flights on either end. Three ports of call, including one major 11-hour excursion. A party of eight, including in-laws, a sister I see all too rarely, and my 9-year-old child. Oh, and! my other half, with whom the rare commodity of romancing is something of a luxury these days.

So how many books do I bring?

It's taken years for people to get me on a cruise. I never thought it was the vacation style for me, and then I read David Foster Wallace's "Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise," which only solidified my horror at the prospect. A horror of being trapped, on a boat, with 5000 people of the type who go on cruises. But here I am.

They say it's heaven — a deck chair and a book. I believe it. I just don't see it as easily attainable. But I'll try. I have options as follows:

  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell — It's a flipback!, so it's ultraportable! How could I not bring this? Only, I'm not sure I'm actually in the mood to read it.
  • These Days Are Ours, Michell Haimoff — A review copy, a post 9-11 thing. I'm not sure I want to read about the post 9-11 thing, but both the book and the author sound pretty smart.
  • The Man Who Wasn't Maigret, Patrick Marnham — Library book. I probably shouldn't bring a libary book on a cruise.
  • The White Horse Inn, Georges Simenon — Another library book. I'll have to renew the loan so I can read it when I get back.
  • Tropic Moon, Georges Simenon — I have a little Simenon project going on right now, only I'm not at liberty to divulge details just yet.
  • Act of Passion, Georges Simenon — I really do need this, for research purposes. I should bring some Simenon.
  • Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett — Comes highly recommended by Oprah and my mother-in-law, which recommendations I regard as dubious. But it's also the best book ever according to the coffee girl whith whom I chat about books. And then a coworker pressed her copy on me. Also, we recently introduced Carcassone to my mother-in-law, and she says it reminds her of this book, for which reason I'm now deadly curious.
  • The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov. Only I might read this before I leave.

Those are the ones I haven't pushed into dusty corners.

Then there are the e-books I've been loading up on:
  • Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (I love the TV series.)
  • Impromptu in Moribundia, Patrick Hamilton
  • Spurious, Lars Iyer
  • Phantoms of Breslau, Marek Krajewski
  • The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa (readalong, anyone?)
  • The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
  • The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson

This time next week I'll be leaving on vacation. Maybe I'll get to read a little. Or maybe I'll just spend all my waking hours at the champagne bar.
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