Monday, July 16, 2007

Vacation reading.

One of the great things about a vacation like this one, especially the second half, wherein we are holed up in a place we've rented for a week, is that we can bring piles of books and expect to read pretty much all of them. I am particularly thrilled to be reading novels, because, sadly, even the most brilliant novel stands almost no chance of seeming worth the trouble in my regular life, whereas on vacation, good novels become the joy they are and should be. There's something wrong with the above scenario, I realize--I'm just explaining how it is.

I bought a copy of Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union at Costco when I went there with my daughter a few weeks ago. It rattled around, unread, in the trunk of my car, then came with us to the Idaho cabin, where it also remained unread. Finally, it traveled all the way from home to Seattle and now to Mendocino, where I am reading it, and lo! it is quite wonderful. I love it, will probably finish it today, which might give me the momentum to start and really get a foothold in The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which everyone in American knows is a great novel but which I could never really get going in.

I've leafed around in some books of poetry, as well, started and finished a pretty darn good young adult novel, Kiki Strike, that I picked up solely on the basis of its cool cover. By the way, the "book by its cover" nostrum is false, in my experience--I've picked up so many books because they had great covers and have rarely been wrong. Anyway, one little thing I loved about this book, about a group of girls, self-dubbed the "Irregulars," who want to explore a maze of super-underground tunnels leftover from NYC's criminal past, is that the girls are all Girl Scout flunk-outs. They got kicked out of the Girl Scouts! Great metaphor.

Next up, maybe even before Kavalier and Clay, is Falling Man. Also, we might go outside a little, check out what the great Pacific Ocean has on its mind.


  1. I just couldn't get into Kavalier and Clay. It was over written, IMHO. Anyway, I want to read Falling Man too. And I've read some light novels this summer, which is what summer is for.
    Much success with the reading!!

  2. Kavalier and Clay starts out a little slow--maybe even a little overwritten, but it rocks. It really is fabulous. You should both read it. Read it now!

  3. Excellent! I now no longer have to keep lists pinned to my tack board and on my computer of books I need to read--instead I will just surf the covers at Amazon and order away.

  4. BTW the Kiki Strike cover is very cool

  5. I love (loved? no I still love it. Hated Final Solution though) Kavalier and Clay! But then, I like the new Pynchon.
    And I totally agree that book covers do not lie.



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