And I’m back from two weeks in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I visited some new places to me, remembered how similar but different our cultures can be, and helped my sister to get married (I was maid of honor, I’d say “honour” but we call it chief bridesmaid on this side of the pond). But more of all that later (there’s a lot of pictures to go through). For now, let’s talk holiday reading.
I took six books with me, of which I had already started one – Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns – which I suspected my Mum would like more than me so I took it partly to pass on to her. I finished that and another book – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – on the journey out, then spent two weeks reading at the slowest pace imaginable so that I am still barely three-quarters of my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I’m not sure if it’s his writing style or my mood but I just can’t get absorbed.
I am always torn, when picking holiday reading, between light easy reads and big chunky literary works that I have been putting off. This time I tried to pick some of both but the literary monopolised my time somewhat. Which way does your holiday reading lean?
Despite my reading slowness, I still took advantage of our “buy whatever you like while you’re on holiday” rule to buy some new books for my shelves. Well why not? Perhaps surprisingly, half of my new buys came from the excellent (and well named) comic shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. From there I picked up:
Palestine by Joe Sacco, a journalistic account of Palestine in 1991–1992 in graphic novel format.
War is Boring by David Axe, a war correspondent’s memoirs in graphic novel format.
Dollhouse: Epitaphs by Joss Whedon, which I’m saving up until I’ve finished watching the DVD boxset.
In addition, we found a huge secondhand bookstore, Book Buyers, from which my brother dragged me when I had picked up three books from one bookcase alone. I could have spent a fortune in there easily, it was a great place. What I did spend my pennies on was:
Saving Agnes by Rachel Cusk, winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award 1993 (I loved her second novel, The Temporary).
Disgrace by J M Coetzee, winner of the Booker Prize 1999 (gotta continue my attempt to read all the prizewinners).
The Romance Readers’ Book Club by Julie L Cannon, a lighter sounding read set in Georgia, which I thought was appropriate while I was in the vicinity.
On an aside, I should mention that by searching out these shops, plus the equally great record shop Lunchbox Records, we ended up exploring parts of the city we wouldn’t otherwise have gone near (not exactly tourist traps) that turned out to be very cool areas full of arty/indie shops and bars.
Back to sifting through those photos…