Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Travel plans


This weekend my family is doing what everyone in their right mind has been avoiding lately, considering the price of gas--getting in the car and driving to our vacation destination. We're going to Yosemite to celebrate my dad's birthday.

Yosemite has been one of my favorite places since I was a child. I remember stopping at a store on the way to Yosemite when I was a kid, and buying two books from a bargain table--Silas Marner, by George Eliot, and The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--both of which I devoured on that trip. I remember loving Silas Marner, but I don't remember much about The Hound of the Baskervilles. Maybe I'll read it again some day.

In Silas Marner, I remember reading about Silas trying to punish baby Eppie by putting her in the coal hole, and having the punishment backfire on him when she took to going into the coal-hole for fun. When Silas finds her in the coal-hole, dirty with coal dust, she smiles and says, "Eppie in de toal-hole!" I remember finding that bit very funny, and sharing it with my family, and having Eppie's phrase stick with us and become a family joke. Now, with a three-year-old who loves nothing more than making a mess, I relate to the anecdote even more.

For this trip I'm not relying on finding a bargain book table; I'm bringing Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth, which I've been saving for the trip, but which I need to finish before my book group meets next week. I loved The Namesake and The Interpreter of Maladies, so I'm really looking forward to this book. Can't wait to discuss it with my book group.

Do you ever associate books with the places you read them?

And anyone who has read Unaccustomed Earth, what do you think?

12 comments:

litlove said...

Have a wonderful weekend! I remember places solely by the books I was reading when I was in them. Barbara Trapido's The Travelling Hornplayer (brilliant book) in Corsica instantly springs to mind. I haven't ever read the author you mention although I've heard nothing but good things about her!

Jaimie said...

I love Yosemite! It doesn't matter which way you point a camera, you can always get a good shot. We are not going this year because of the gas prices, ($4.15 yesterday!) and it is so nice to see your beautiful picture posted.
Have a great time and drive safely!

Charley said...

I enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies, but I haven't read Unaccustomed Earth, so I look forward to reading your review. I have books that I remember reading in certain places - like Jurassic Park on Naushon Island, or Middlemarch at a coffee shop in Santa Cruz - but looking at them doesn't make me feel nostalgic for the place where I read them.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--thanks! I'm really looking forward to the Lahiri, I'll let you know if I like it.

jaimie--I love Yosemite, too! Yes, I filled the tank of our minivan and I almost fainted when I saw how much I spent.

charley--I find that the books don't remind me of the places, but sometimes the places remind me of the books! I love Middlemarch, did you?

heather (errantdreams) said...

Most of the time books cause me to tune out so much of my environment that I don't associate them with place. But if the place is unusual enough or the book memorable enough, I might.

Literary Feline said...

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I have never been to Yosemite despite living in California for most of my life. Someday . . .

I hope you enjoy Lahiri's new book. I recently caved in and bought a copy.

Bybee said...

I'll always associate Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant with Kansas City, although it takes place in Baltimore.

Bookfool said...

Hope you have a fabulous trip! I haven't read anything at all by Jhumpa Lahiri, but I just got a copy of Unaccustomed Earth. I'll look forward to reading your thoughts.

Dorothy W. said...

Have a great trip! I enjoyed listening to The Namesake, but I'm not familiar with the other ones -- I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it.

Jeane said...

Enjoy Yosemite! I don't always associate books with places, but often do with music. Especially if it's a song I haven't heard in a long time, I'll immediately remember where I first heard it.

stefanie said...

I love Yosemitie! What a great place to celebrate your dad's birthday. I remember some books by where I read them. I will always associate the Mammoth Hunters with my parents' backyard which is where I spent the summer reading it. And a business trip to Florida will always be associated with Donna Tart's The Secret History and And Roth Plot Against America.

Gentle Reader said...

heather--it doesn't always happen for me, either, but it's funny, sometimes I'll pick up a book I haven't read in awhile and I'll flash on the place where I read it. It happens a lot more with songs!

literary feline--if you can get to Yosemite, I highly recommend it. I really enjoyed the Lahiri book, too :)

bybee--You make me laugh! I have books like that, too! The setting of the book and where I read it can be so incongruous, sometimes :)

bookfool--I'll be interested to hear if you like it, too :)

dorothy--I really liked the Namesake, too, and would like to see the movie someday. I should add it to my Netflix queue...

jeane--yes, the same thing happens with music. In fact, it happens much more often with music, and the memories seem to have greater intensity!

stefanie--I love Yosemite, too--I have great childhood memories from the place. I like your book-place memories, thanks for sharing :)