Wednesday, October 15, 2008

“If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music, and of aviation.”*

I am alone in my house for the next six hours. Well, except for the plumber, but he hardly counts. The only function he serves (other than replacing our main water valve, I mean) is keeping me honest. In other words, I do have work to do, and I will do it. I won’t nap or lie around twiddling my thumbs. That’s fine. I like working when it’s quiet and peaceful and I can make innumerable cups of tea for myself without having to get anyone else anything.

But one must prioritize, and here is my dilemma: I am going out of town next weekend. Our trip begins Friday morning and we return Monday evening. I have formal dinner obligations each evening, and two different recreational tour type things going on for several hours both Saturday and Sunday. However, I have two six-hour plane rides (albeit with a transfer on each). I have a space of several hours the first morning when H must attend a business meeting. Other than a lengthy massage, I have no other plans, so I am guessing that even with eight hours sleep each night, I will have a minimum of, say, two hours a day to lie by the pool and read.

WHAT TO READ?

I have three books in my hold queue at the library but likely will not get any of them before next weekend: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, recommended enthusiastically by my friend L, Kate Atkinson’s newest, When Will There Be Good News?, and a book just reviewed by the usually reliable Laura Miller from Salon, Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh.

I am picking up today Georgette Heyer’s Venetia and Laura Lippman’s By a Spider’s Thread, but anticipate finishing these before leaving.

I am staring at a living room bookcase and have several unread books there: The Worst Journey in the World, The Falls (I HATE JCO, why do I own this?), Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, John Thorne’s cooking essays, Mouth Wide Open, review copies of Alice Sebold’s Almost Moon (am I the only person in creation not to have read Lovely Bones?) and Richard Price’s Lush Life. But none of these scream, Read me!

I am hearing some buzz about Edgar Sawtelle, anyone know anything about it? Jumpha Lahiri has something new, but it’s short stories, and I don’t feel like short stories. I haven’t read Meg Wolitzer’s Ten Year Nap yet, and I don’t even own Salman Rushdie’s most recent, The Enchantress of Florence (his last few novels have been majorly disappointing anyway).

And for God's sake, don't tell me to give Nightingales of Troy another go just yet.

Help. Me.

I can manage to find three presentable formal dresses, and reasonably decent hiking clothes, and a new nosepiece for my glasses, all with a minimum of fuss.

But the only thing I am more worried about than the plane crashing is what the heck I am reading when it goes down.


*************
*Tom Stoppard

18 comments:

Bearette24 said...

I read the new Kate Atkinson. It was good, but a total bloodbath.

Bearette24 said...

I liked Nice To Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers and The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center...if that's any help.

Red Eyes said...

Dear BabelBabe, you must be a very brave lady. I'm trying to be as neutral as possible but Beethoven was the first man of music to be free. Without getting pseudo-philosophical, his music is of poignant destiny and if the world were coming to an end, I think I would prefer to read something I had read previously. I don't think one will be able to cope with the suspense of the plane coming down as well as that of a book half read. I think such may be the Utopia that Beethoven teaches us to formulate? I admire your courage and logic.

Red Eyes said...

Although you have not been impressed so far by Salman Rushdie, I would have suggested a re-read of satanic verses - the opening where Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha were falling to earth because the plane they had been flying on had just been blown up by terrorists, yes?

Caro said...

I like to read children's books so I am probably no help to you. But if you want light, entertaining stuff, I suggest Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson.

Jess said...

You are not the only person who hasn't read The Lovely Bones.

Did you read The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing? It's not light reading, but very satisfying, and the sequel just came out yesterday.

Have you read An Equal Music? I'm halfway through and liking it. Or maybe The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B (plus sequels)?

Major Bedhead said...

I read The Ten Year Nap. It was good, but not captivating.

Right now, I'm reading World Without End by Ken Follett. It's the sequel to Pillars Of The Earth (which I loved) and is fantastic.

I'm also reading The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue. I just started it, but so far, it's hooked me in enough to brave the library late fee it will incur. She also wrote Slammerkin, which was very good.

Jennifer said...

I'm reading different Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum). I bet it'd be a good plane read because it's not too dense but still engaging. (Also, I'm only maybe 50 pages in, so make of this what you will.)

Bearette24 said...

Jess mentioned An Equal Music - A Suitable Boy (also by Vikram Seth) is very good, though (a) you may have read it already and (b) it's long.

ssheers said...

All those books you mentioned ... read the first page of each of them and then decide.

kim at allconsuming said...

Wait.

You're getting to go away?

With just you and Mr BB?

On a plane?

With FREE time?


To yourself???


Cue: head exploding at the mere idea of such a thing.

BLISS.

Liz said...

Re: Lovely Bones- if you haven't gotten around to it by next year you can see the movie.

Lush Life is my current read, and though I almost never read crime fiction, I'm enjoying it.

Still- Mouth Wide Open and The Ten Year Nap get my vote.

Badger said...

Dude, I give up on recommending books to you. I've discovered that in the venn diagram of our taste in books, the area of overlap is not all that large, actually.

That being said, I just started Bel Canto. Have you read Kabul Beauty School? I think that's next on my stack.

Shirty said...

Did you read The Monk Downstairs? There's a sequel--I just requested it . . .

Beth said...

I don't think I'd venture to make a recommendation, but i will say you should read something gripping that you won't be able to put down, because...YOU WON"T HAVE TO!!! Oh the freedom from demanding tiny people for just a few days...

Anonymous said...

I just finished Edgar Sawtelle. Truly beautiful - very Hamlet. It broke my heart over and over.
Kathy - Michigan

teachergirl said...

You may be one of the few to have not read The Lovely Bones, but I am probably one of the few to have thrown it away. GawdAwful.

Suse said...

The new Kate Atkinson of course.

I saw it in a bookshop on MY weekend away yesterday and thought of you. Looks like her usual brilliant lightly written devastating tragedy.

Will be interested to hear what you think of Snow. I started it but couldn't get into it, perhaps because I was lying on a white hot beach in the blistering heat at the time ...