I started hiking the TMB with my trusty Kindle loaded with new books to read. By day two I realized that paperback books are better suited for backpacking; it can better withstand the hard knocks of trekking. I was terrified I would crush my Kindle, which I’ve grown to love and adore. With a tear and a pout I shipped it home from a post office in France.
And then we headed to the nearest bookstore to find me a paperback book.
Throughout our entire trip, Jack and I had our noses in a book. To outsiders we must have seemed like quite the old married couple as we spent many meals together happily reading on our own, hardly saying a word to each other. It was bliss, I tell ya.
Every moment of down time had us whipping out a book, even if it was just a five-minute break to let our dogs rest. We read pretty much everywhere …
… the side of the road in the middle of nowhere …
… on the lake …
… on the train …
… in the park …
… on the mountain …
We each went through several books while traveling. Here’s what we read and what we’d recommend.
Jack: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl that Played with Fire (books 1 and 2 of the Millennium trilogy) by Stieg Larsson (the former was given to him by TeresaAK. Thanks, TH!). “The first book was entertaining, a good read. The first is definitely the best of the trilogy. By the end of the second book things start to get a little silly. I didn’t finish the third book, I lost interest part way through it, there were just too many inconsistencies.”
Mic: I only read the first book. It was a page-turner and I was able to whip through it, but I’m always annoyed when it takes half the book (in this case over 200-pages) for the two protagonists to meet. And then it effectively ends nearly one hundred pages before the end of the book. It was like watching a movie with multiple endings, you keep wondering if it’s time to go yet.
What was neat about reading these books while traveling was that everyone else was reading them too. You could strike up a conversation with just about anyone from any country and they were in the middle of reading it in their own language. The other neat thing was to see it with so many different covers, depending on what country the book was from. Talking about the novel and the subsequent movie with other travelers made reading the book worth it.
Mic: When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. It had me crying with laughter by page two. No kidding. It’s embarrassing to read this book in public. I was completely unable to control my outbursts of laughter. My herculean efforts to suppress the mirth resulted in haphazard explosions of snorts, sniggers and high-pitched cackles often accompanied by leaky tears. I looked and sounded like a lunatic. So much so that Jack would look around uncomfortably and quietly scooch away pretending not to know me. Were I a less confident person I might have been offended. But I was too busy maniacally giggling (as quietly as I possibly could) to care. This book, like most of Sedaris’ work, is too funny to read in public or while drinking beverages. It’s the perfect feel-good read.
Jack: Curious about the source of my lunacy Jack snatched up the book as soon as I was done only to laugh his way through it, too. “It was hysterical! You get a sense of comfort that someone else has those ridiculous thoughts, too. It’s fresh. I would really recommend it!”
Mic: I’m a big fan of Karen Rose—she’s always a solid Mystery read—so I was pleased to find this book while in France. It’s a romantic suspense (although I believe in Europe she’s sold under Mystery) that was reprinted in 2009. As usual, Rose doesn’t disappoint. A quick-paced mystery with a healthy romance thrown is always a great vacation read.
All but one of these books we bought while in Europe. They were much more expensive than in the US. For example, the Karen Rose paperback was 10.70EUR ($13.76USD). That’s nearly double the price of the US equivalent. Holy baloney.
I was glad to get home to my Kindle and the reduced price of e-books.
But since returning home, the only thing I’m reading these days is related to organic chemistry. While there’s a mystery involved, it’s hardly the same sort of entertainment.
What did you guys read this summer?