My vacation to Ireland starts next week (so long suckers) and I’ll be enduring a long plane ride and as I have this horrible fear of being bored without something to read so I’ve been fussing over what vacation reading I’ll be bringing. I need something with substance but able to put down and without boring me or being predictable.
Last time I went, I took the newly released hardcover of Peter Carey's take on Dickens - Jack Maggs (ISBN: 0679760377 paperback Vintage $13) and read very little of it, only watched how the damp Irish air curled the pages even when the book was shut. It was too dense of a book for vacation anyhow. I eventually read it later and loved it as I do most things Carey writes.
Since we didn't have it in stock, I ordered Diary of Samuel Pepys (ISBN: 0679642218 $19.95 Modern Library edition) in hardcover (get the paperback edition ISBN: 0812970713 for $13 if you like or the nine volume University of California Press edition if you are serious) when remembered that a used copy I had that was illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard of Winnie the Pooh fame had been destroyed. I also ordered The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (ISBN: 0231073372 Columbia University Press $20 paperback) also to replace a destroyed copy. Though it has been years since I’ve read a proper Sci-fi novel (since I discovered all those post modern and magic realist writers) I’ve been eyeing both Jupiter (ISBN: 0812579410 Tor Books $7.99) and Saturn (ISBN: 0812579429 Tor Books $7.99) both by Ben Bova and of a series of the colonization of the solar system, planet by planet. I have a nice collection of adventure stories from the 1930’s I like a lot but would be too nervous to take it overseas. Pepys and Pillow Book I could pick up at any point and drop since they are observations on life, one in 1660's London, the other in medival courtly Japan, and really don't follow a narrative (although it is fun to watch Pepys, the old letch, record his attempts in code to kiss yet another housemaid--'baise la fille' http://www.pepys.info/bits.html). Saturn would be cool to read with whats happening on Titan with the Cassini-Huygens probe, and yes I am fully aware just how nerdy that sounds and I don't care.