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...