Kathleen's Vacation Bookbag: Something Old, Something New
July 29, 2010
As always, at the start of any trip, my bookbag rides jauntily in the front seat--a revered traveling companion, crisp and full of good intentions. But by the end of the journey, it is shoved down by my feet, bloated, unused, and unwanted like the sibling that you’re sick of.
Only now, after the hiking, biking, and caving has ceased, and I have returned to my home nest am I finally able to finish the new book I toted all those miles to South Dakota: The Language of Sand, by Ellen Block. I am also being dazzled by Pullitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's first collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, that I picked up at a library book sale in Hill City.
Now that Oprah (June, 2010) and others have given us permission to go ahead and judge a book by its cover. I'm not ashamed to admit that I chose The Language of Sand because of the lighthouse, beach, and pretty twisted ponytail shown on the cover. I just discovered the ridged detail along the spine. Since the protagonist is a lexicographer, I'll let you look that one up and figure it out.
The Language of Sand is the perfect end of summer book set on an island along North Carolina's Outerbanks. It deals with loss and rebirth as the main character flees family tragedy to set up residence as a lighthouse caretaker. An interesting cast of island characters, mysterious home robberies, and an impending hurricane keep it moving along. Although the phrasing is sometimes weirdly clichéd and the lure of a “handsome islander” never amounts to much, this book is not bad for a first time writer. We can always hope for more romance as Block is, of course, at work on a sequel.
I am drawn to small town libraries and library book sales. I don’t need anymore books. I can’t breathe at night, probably from all the book dust in my room, but I can’t help myself. So while on vacation, I had to visit the local library and I had to buy a book. I chose the 2000 Pullitzer winning Interpreter of Maladies, which I had never had a chance to read. I unearthed this little gift to myself just the other day and started with the short story Sexy. I like this sharp, succinct writing about the social lives of East Indian Americans.I’m still unloading my vacation bookbag and can’t wait to see what else I’ve missed!
Kathleen N.Tags: reading, Books, book review