Vacation Reading

When we were getting ready for vacation last month, I spent as much time selecting my reading matter as I did clothes. Clothes — everything layered, rain gear, boots, jacket. It was 95+ in VA when we left but only 60 in Alaska.

Books and magazines were another challenge. I usually take magazines for airplanes to jettison along the way. I packed an inch of magazines and came home with none. Books. Well, I love to indulge in guilty pleasures of really trashing novels. This time I didn’t, thereby breaking a long-standing rule: Take nothing that will make you think. That means no literary novels, no non-fiction, etc. So, what did I take?

Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House and Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Finished them both.

Gladwell’s was a good read with many ideas to contemplate. I left it with my cousin in Anchorage.

I raced through Kathy’s book, flipping pages as fast as I could. The plot and character development are outstanding. It’s hard to realize that this is her debut novel. As I neared the end, I realized I had deprived myself of the best part of the book — the language. This literary novel is rich with description, strong on dialogue. I was missing out on that.

Thus, I broke another rule: I reread the book. Yes, this from the woman who has 100+ books in her analog slush pile. I set The Kitchen House aside for a week, then sat and reread it. S-l-o-w-l-y. It was a true treat. This time I nibbled on the language, her word choice, and let my mind linger on particularly savory bits.

Rules are made for breaking. I’m glad I broke both. I encourage everyone who loves literary novels to pick up The Kitchen House. It’s the most delicious dessert.

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