Dear reader, life is too short for crap books.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fat Books

In preparation for my recent camping trip to the Sequoia National Forest, I checked out some library books on the subject, mainly because I was sort of terrified of being devoured by a bear or a mountain lion.

One of the camping books I picked up from the library offered some unusual advice about reading in the wild. The authors suggested bringing along one really long book and burning pages as you read so you don't have to carry the weight of the book on your expedition. While the latter hunk of advice seemed extreme, not to mention distasteful, I was intrigued by the idea of bringing one big, fat book on the trip.

For the record, Neil Gaiman's American Gods is A-1, primo reading for a camping trip. It's about a man who finds himself in the middle of a war between the old gods carried over to the United States by immigrants and the newer, slicker American gods. And when you're on top of a mountain with no electricity, it is surprisingly easy to get behind the idea of Odin and Anansi running around wreaking havoc.

The fat books advice probably also applies to long plane rides, jury duty, road trips, and sick days. Here are a few others to look up, should you find yourself in any of these situations:

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

5 comments:

Kjersti said...

My problem with this advice, is that when I get particularly engrossed in a novel I generally exhibit very poor self-control. I would end up reading the entire first night, and then be out of book, flashlight batteries, and rest for the remained of the camping trip. Though I can't sleep on planes, so this might be good for that.

Sally J. said...

Mary! OMG.

This was the only book I could think of for the thread about "should be made into a movie." Although it's too long for a movie. More like a mini-series, I guess.

The scenes at House on the Rock were my favorite, and I love the concept of deities who fade away as fewer people worship them. See also Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

P.S. I just finished PopCo. Amazing! Did you know I used to work for Mattel? There were so many creepy reminders of why I'm much happier outside of corporate America. Thanks for the tip!

mary_m said...

Kjersti: I know what you mean... However, I decided that THIS TIME I wasn't going to be the indoor kid who spent the whole camping trip reading, so I only read in the afternoon, in between exhausting hiking and dark. Battery-wasting averted. BTW... is this Kjersti formerly of Madison Public Library?

Sally: You know, my biggest regret about the time I spent living in WI is that I never visited House on the Rock. What was I thinking?

I'm really glad you liked Popco... and I'm also really glad that you got out of the private sector!

Gwen said...

When I travel and take a travel guide, I always tear out the pages I don't need anymore and throw them away to make the book lighter. I always assume that, should I ever be back in, say, Venezuela, I'd need a new guidebook by then anyway, so there's no point in really saving it.

I don't think I could ever do that to a real book though.

I went to the House on the Rock once. It is a mind-boggling experience.

Kjersti said...

Yes, it would be that Kjersti. Sociology connections in the spring led to someone refering me to Brady's blog, and thus, your book pages.

Also, I never visited the house on the rock either. It's expensive. But apparently it made my sister cry when she was very young.