Monday, August 17, 2009

What I Read on My Vacation

Remember when the teacher asked you to write about what you read during summer vacation? If we told the truth: 'I read nothing but Nancy Drew and comic books all summer,' we knew that wouldn't go over so well. Here's the truth about what I read on my week off. No newspapers for starters and when I got home the news was the same as when I left. Supposedly August is a slow news month: Congress goes on vacation and so do many of the reporters who cover Congress. So even if a tree fell in the forest, there would be no reporter around to tell us about it. I didn't watch TV news either and rarely went on a computer. Those townhall meetings: missed it. Whew! I noticed that people in the airports played with their cell phones rather than reading paperbacks or newspapers or magazines. Clickety clack, many many tweets and text messages flew through cyberspace, but only two people reading the old-fashioned way. One man, bald, two earrings in one ear, mismatched plaid shorts and plaid shirt, was reading - a crochet pattern. He was crotcheting at an impressive pace.
Back to my summer reading list: Me Tanner, You Jane, an Evan Tanner novel (c 1970) by Lawrence Block. I like Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries, but this one, featuring a James Bond kind of spy in Africa, felt dated and I wouldn't recommend it unless you like very light, old-fashioned spy thrillers.
On the plane, I read Michael Crichton's Next (2006) which is about genetic engineering gone awry. Like all Crichton's books, it was a real page-turner and he was in top form in this one. Funny in a scary, sardonic way with lots of information about how academia and the government and drug companies can patent genes which has some interesting implications.
I finished that book before my vacation was over and my daughter gave me two books to take back home (to the family archives, I guess I have the most shelf space) including Michael Connelly's City of Bones, which I had already read and recommend if you like dark police procedurals. The other book in my purse on the way home was Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, which I think I read way back when all the baby boomers were reading his books, but I wasn't sure. Somehow it just didn't suit flying to EWR by way of Allentown, Pa because of the weather. Although maybe Vonnegut would have found some weird irony in that. I didn't. I was just hoping the pilot really could find an airport amongst the green fields of Pa. He did. Finally. We clapped.

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