|Lovely Long Bay on Anguilla|
We're going to Anguilla again this year, an island we feel we're coming to know, little by little, after multiple (six? seven? I lose track) trips. We love this little place in the sun and we love our daily patterns there: read, eat, walk the beach, read, eat, swim, read, eat, snorkel, read, eat, explore. Repeat for the next fourteen days. Intersperse rum drinks at will. We love Anguilla for what it isn't (loud, crowded, jetskis, nightlife, casino) just as much as we love it for what it is (peaceful, quiet, friendly, beautiful beaches, and amazing food).
I'm a little behind in pre-reading my books for vacation. No book makes it into my suitcase without my reading at a minimum the first two chapters to ensure its worthiness. I used to read only the first chapter but last year I got landed with a couple of duds, and then some writing friends revealed to me that the first chapter is the most-revised and workshopped and often the best part of any book. Of course. But that's where you come in, dear reader. If you've read anything on this list that you think was excellent or a dud, please enlighten me. Likewise, if there's a book out there that really blows your skirt up or creams your Twinkie or [insert euphemistic metaphor of your choice here], please let me know.
I try to take books that are mostly not-yet-published, and they will mostly be fiction, but I try to work at least one YA, one short story collection, 1-2 works of nonfiction, and occasionally one classic into the mix for variety's sake. If a book will also double as a must-read for my husband it gets bonus points and an almost ironclad guaranteed spot in my bag. Here are the ones on my long list:
For nonfiction: Gulp by Mary Roach, The Turk Who Loved Apples and Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World by Matt Cross, and Headhunters on My Doorstep by J. Maarten Troost (I LOVE his books on the South Pacific. His book on China didn't do much for my skirt OR my Twinkie, though). The latter is almost guaranteed a spot because (1) it isn't published yet and (2) my husband loves his books, too.
Vying for the short story position(s) are: The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham, This Is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila, and The Peripatetic Coffin by Ethan Rutherford.
My fiction offerings are pretty varied: Mo Said She Was Quirky by James Kelman, Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta, A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat, and The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. And I'd be remiss if I didn't include Lamb by Christopher Moore. Then there's anything I might pick up at BEA this week. The new Bill Bryson if I'm lucky. Or possibly the new Paul Harding or Marisha Pessl.
My classic this year just may be The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This is the book my husband asked me to read for Christmas in 2012. We do this every year--we read a book of the other's choosing--and while I love this tradition, I am a little bummed that this is the book he picked for me out of all of the fantastic books he read last year. However, I may put off reading Grapes and take with me something a little more fun: Zelda Fitzgerald's Save Me the Waltz, for example.
My YA options are wide open. I had been planning on taking Code Name Verity, but it turns out that my bookstore just started a YA bookclub for adults and that's the first selection, to be discussed before we leave. So that one is out. The last few YA books that I went crazy for were The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, so I'm open to most things: realistic, historical, or fantastical.
So what say you, gentle reader? Which books should earn passage to Anguilla?
|This is a photo from our "home" balcony on Anguilla|