My vacation reading project

If you will refer to the calendar in the right sidebar, you’ll see that I have a vacation coming up! Okay, “vacation” is a stretch–I’m just going to my parents’ house in Northern California for a couple of days, during which my mother will probably nag me, as she has every time I’ve been home since I moved out two years ago, to go through the stuff in my room and get rid of it. Little does she know that I have no intention of doing that! (JAY KAY, Mom, if you’re reading this, but please don’t make me because I really don’t want to.) I have my own plans for those few blissful days of California sun and gourmet meals (a.k.a. air conditioning I don’t have to pay for and my mother’s cooking). They are as follows:

1. See Shannel and play with her puppy. Possibly steal the puppy.

2. Finish MB.

3. Read a crapload of books.

I have had so little time to read recently. I’ve been stuck on Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty and Susan Bell’s The Artful Edit for so long now. I have to admit, I find myself confused by A Great and Terrible Beauty. I either have to try harder, or put it aside to tackle another time when I have the energy to try harder. Either way, both these books are staying in New York. My new favorite thing to do is consider all the books I’m going to drag with me to California, for six-hour plane rides and long leisurely days sprawled out on the couch.

So far, I’ve definitely decided to bring Carol Goodman’s The Night Villa and Jasper Fforde’s First Among Sequels. I love love love Carol Goodman’s books. They’re sort of hard to describe, but I would call them literary, mysterious pseudo-thrillers with a dash of the supernatural. How do you like that subgenre! Anyway, I’m really excited about this one. Fforde, not so much. I mean, I love the Thursday Next books as much as the next (ha!) literature aficionado, but I must be honest in saying that this series has kind of spiraled out of control since The Well of Lost Plots and is now so full of convoluted twists and literary references so obscure that I don’t even get them that it’s hard to maintain interest for long enough to actually finish one. I limped through Something Rotten, and when I opened First Among Sequels just to see if I wanted to start it right then (this was a month ago or so) I immediately closed it again, and I swear to God this was my actual thought: THERE ARE SO MANY WORDS ON THAT PAGE. I know, how ridiculous, right? Except that between the very long, very absurd epigraphs from fake books in the Nextosphere that begin every single chapter, the actual text of the novel and the footnotes, it’s a jungle in there! So, I don’t think it’s something I can casually read a few pages of at night. It’s going to have to be a project. That’s what vacation is for.

I’m also thinking about bringing Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster just to round out the nonfiction. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, because I used to have an obscene handbag fetish and I think the fact that it’s faded has more to do with my lack of disposable income than my burgeoning understanding of just how stupid and grotesque the luxury goods market is. I need a good punch in the kisser w/r/t the whole industry surrounding designer what-have-yous.

I feel like I should bring some YA, too. I’m considering taking Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait! and Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It with me. I also have the sequel to LAWKI, the dead and the gone, but you KNOW I’m not bringing a hardcover with me on vacation.

Am I being ridiculous? Is that too many books for a five-day trip? Even if I’ll be spending much of it on planes? I don’t think so. But how much do you want to bet that I’ll conk out on the plane, show up at my parents’ house, sit down in front of the TV and watch the Olympics the whole time, barely cracking a book?

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