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