Thursday, March 18, 2004

Next week the kids and I head off on vacation for Spring Break.
I bought a wood carving knife (no worries, I'm not going to put it in carry-on), two novels, and a book of poetry to bring along. Do you find that you are more, or less picky about your reading materials on vacation? It took me forever at Borders to find something that seemed the right level of gravity and levity. No murders please. Sci Fi can be ok, but nothing too scientific which requires me to concentrate on quantum physics while my kids are playing in the pool requiring half my attention. No tragedy. Something lively is good, something witty but not superficial. No love stories, nothing worse than being in a romantic vacation destination with a book taunting you with the exact thing you most miss while on a vacation. Seems I've whittled down the choices in the fiction dept to about 10 books.

From the Winter Park Public Library Archives: "The Vacation Reading Club was under the personal supervision of the Children's Librarian, Helen Foley Fuller. Each year she came up with a different theme. In 1950 the theme was Treasure Island, 1951 was a Circus Club and in 1952 it was a Rodeo. In the picture on the right, you can see a mannequin supplied by the Toggery clothing store, dressed as a cowboy and pictures of horses and other rodeo themes decorating the the Children's Room."

I ended up with two very typical Susan choices: The Dim Sum of All Things (Kim Wong Keltner) "You'll read scenes that include dating disasters with grandsons of Grandma's mahjong partners..." (my read: Amy Tan meets Bridget Jones' Diary)
and Sister of My Heart (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni) "A tale as rich and bountiful as the scents and sounds of Calcutta..." (my read: the reviewer at the SF Chronicle who wrote that hasn't been anywhere close to the scents and sounds of Calcutta, it isn't anything like Savannah)

I admit a great weakness for cultural novels in general. Several bookshelves worth of weakness. Not including the travel writing. My favorites are Mistress of Spices (Divakaruni again), A Suitable Boy (V. Seth), Bless Me Ultima (Rudolpho Anaya), The Samurai's Garden (Gail Tsukiyama) and anything by Sandra Cisneros.

What do you read on vacations?

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