For the next two weeks I hope to spend a lot of time reading (and probably very little time blogging). Lucy and the house have a sitter, my steamer trunk is packed, motion sickness tablets are at the ready, and we are off to sail the seven seas. Okay, maybe not all seven of them but we do plan to see an awful lot of the Caribbean.
Until we went on our first--and so far only--cruise four years ago, we thought they were for losers. But then we found a ship that was actually kind of tasteful, had great food, and a really fantastic spa. When we pulled back into port in the U.S. we felt like seven days just wasn't long enough. So this time we are going for fourteen freakin' days.
And my favorite days are the days at sea (five of them on this cruise) where there is nothing to do but read, have massages, and sit on our verandah and stare at the ocean. (Of course there are many other things to do, but that pretty much sums up what I plan to do.)
Now the ship has a library that is bound to have one or two things that might be fun to read on vacation, but with fourteen days I can't really risk that. Plus I accepted the TBR Double Dog Dare, so until April 1st, I can only read books already in my TBR pile so the books in the ship's library are off limits. At least for anything more than browsing.
Will seven books be enough? Should I add an eighth just in case? I always overpack books, but, but, but, what if....?!
On my first round choosing I was only going to take books that are on my Century of Books list, but then I worried that I was setting myself up for trouble. So I decided I needed to throw in a few things that uh, are, um, just plain old escapist.
So here is the breakdown...
The China Governess by Margery Allingham
Normally I don't care much for mysteries or crime fiction. I tend to find them a little pat for my tastes. Everything falls into place too neatly. But there is something about vintage green Penguin that always seems to attract me when I contemplate vacation reading. So, fingers crossed on this one.
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
I will admit I bought this one at a remainders sale simply because I liked the cover and the author's name seemed vaguely familiar. Since then, some of you have said that this is a great read. It is a spy story which I can sometimes quite enjoy. This one is on my Century of Books list. More fingers crossed.
The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble
Margaret Drabble is a pretty reliable author for me, so I don't worry too much about whether or not I will enjoy it. I was having a difficult time finding something to read for 1964 when I stumbled across this one.
The Immoralist by Andre Gide
I read this back in 1998, but I remember nothing about it. I must have liked it. I gave it an eight out of ten and it started off a mini-frenzy of Gide reading that year. Earlier this year when I needed to find a 1902 book for my Century list this is one that popped up in my search. So I am going to give it another go. My copy smells really good. Like a secondhand bookshop-but not the musty kind.
Passing On by Penelope Lively
Although I have yet to find a Lively novel that lives up to the joy I got from my first Lively (Consequences), I still trust her to deliver the goods.
An Old Captivity by Nevil Shute
The decidedly old fashioned, sometimes hokey, Nevil Shute has never failed to entertain me--even when he made me sob for the last 30 pages of On the Beach. One could describe much of his work as action adventure romances for engineers and other eggheads. This one looks a bit different than most others I have read by him: "In the shelter of a Greenland fiord, shunned by their Eskimo helpers, an elderly Oxford don and his golden-haired daughter..."
The Blue Sapphire by D.E. Stevenson
Looking at this atrocious cover, would you ever guess it was written by the woman who blessed the world with Miss Buncle's Book? Most of Stevenson's non-Buncle oeuvre are pretty typical romances of the NON-bodice ripping variety. They usually involve some sort of newly acquired real estate (cottages, house on cliffs, etc.). So far she has always entertained me. But this cover has me worried. It just looks sooo conventional.
Now what should I add for my eighth book? Must go look at the TBR pile.