Monday, August 24, 2009

Vacation reading

My family and I just returned from a week's vacation at a guest ranch in Central California, where we had a lovely time. This ranch was all about horseback riding, which is not one of my hobbies or interests, but was really appealing to my kids. They also fished, kayaked, swam, and otherwise ran around in the great outdoors.

I, of course, read. I did have the good sense to read outdoors, but I did spend most of my free time reading. I finished The Story of a Marriage, by Andrew Sean Greer, which I enjoyed very much for the quality of the writing and the twists and turns of the story, as well as the descriptions of post-war San Francisco. I also finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson, which I also enjoyed--essentially for the same reasons, but of course it was a very different kind of book. I am not usually into thrillers or mysteries, but this was atmospheric and smart, and a real page-turner.

I also started and finished Geraldine Brooks' People of the Book. It was one of my book group's picks for summer reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the imagined history of a book, the Sarajevo Haggadah, a 14th century illuminated manuscript which actually exists, and has survived many attempts at its destruction. I loved Brooks' way of making history come alive with wonderful characters and vivid descriptions of historical events. I know a fair amount about Jewish history, but it was so interesting to have the history come alive with a good story--to have examples of, say, how it felt when the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 by Isabella and Ferdinand, rather than to just know that dry fact.

If I can find my camera in all the unpacking chaos, I'll post some pictures of the vacation...

10 comments:

Amy Reads Good Books said...

Sounds like great vacation reading. I loved Brooks' novel as well!

Booklogged said...

Would love to see pictures. What a treat to spend a week with lots of time to read.

litlove said...

What a great selection of books! I really want to read the Brooks, and the Greer, and I keep thinking about the Larsson (which I have) but worry it will be a bit violent (and I'm having a wimpish moment, bookwise!). Glad you had a lovely vacation!

Marg said...

I found the Larssen to be a complete page turner too. Can't wait to read the third book!

Gentle Reader said...

Amy--it was good vacation reading, and it made my vacation! I think I liked Brooks' book best :)

Booklogged--I will post some pics, and yes, it was a real treat (provided by my generous father-in-law) for us to get away for so long!

litlove--the Larsson book was a bit violent, in parts. In some ways, I'm glad I didn't know that going in, or I never would have read it. I feel the same way about the movie "The Silence of the Lambs", directed by Jonathan Demme. If I had known what that movie was about going in, I never would have seen it. It scared the crap out of me, and I had bad dreams for months. But I actually think it's a really good movie, very well directed, with some amazing performances. I can't tell you if the Larsson book is worth the anxiety it might cause, but I can tell you that it is very well written for a thriller (a genre I'm usually not that interested in), and the character of Lisbeth Salander (the girl of the title) is really unusual and I found her fascinating. Also, the Scandinavian setting was interesting. But it was a creepy book, that's for sure...

Marg--The Larsson book was definitely a page-turner. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it! On to the next one :)

Dorothy W. said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the Brooks book! I've got it on my shelves and am looking forward to reading it (at some point!).

Gentle Reader said...

Dorothy--I was really pleasantly surprised by the Brooks book. Hope you enjoy it, when you get to it :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

People of the Book has been on my to read list for a long time. I think it's time to bump it up to the top & check it out!

Gentle Reader said...

Lisa--I was really pleasantly surprised by this book--I hope you enjoy it!

sarah said...

Here is a great chance to drive a large number of visitors to your blogs and websites for free.

Submit your websites, blogs, videos to http://www.zillionsb.com and get 1000s of targeted visitors everyday for free. It also helps your websites/blogs gain valuable backlinks.

Let the other bloggers cast their votes to push your posts up for a greater visibility. Enjoy a free, huge traffic to your sites.

Thanks

Sara
http://www.zillionsb.com