I like themes. I rise to the occasion and have been known to don a costume, decorate in the spirit and embrace the frivolity. Vacations are no different. Oh, not where I go or what I do but what I bring along to read. The theme may or may not relate to the destination i.e. young adult Science Fiction to London, American civil war fiction to Hawaii or vampire romances to Denver. I was in desperate need of a respite after a family wedding. This year I went to a tropical island so I decided on an obvious theme for this trip- all beach books or books set on an island.
These are not busman holidays. My ideal trip is uninterrupted reading time with a view. I sat on my island on a chaise lounge under an umbrella. I applied SPF 400 sunscreen and donned a large straw hat. I ordered some frozen concoctions and plowed through four books. Bliss.
Christie, Agatha. “And Then There Were None” also called “Ten Little Indians” – Set on the fictional Soldier Island, off the coast of Devon This is one heck of a yarn! In this book, everyone is a detective, as well as a suspect. I read this book first as a teenager revisiting it every few years and it’s still an enjoyable way to wind away the hours. Christie is the master.
King, Stephen. “Duma Key.” Set on Duma Key, on the Florida coast King blends a ripping good supernatural story with what must have been his own experience in recovering from a horrific accident. It felt very personal without being self-indulgent. This reads like some sprawling, wrenching Greek tragedy. Just when you think nothing can get worse for the narrator...it does.
Palahniuk, Chuck. “Diary.” Set on the fictional Waytansea Island, off the coast of Massachusetts Where do you get your inspiration? Palahniuk delivers a nihilistic tale of an artist finding inspiration after the attempted suicide of her husband. Like all of Palahniuk’s other work, Diary is vivid, disturbing, grotesque, and a bit supernatural. He is nothing if not creative. “Diary” is written as a diary from the point of view of the protagonist, Misty; in the fashion of a long letter written to her comatose husband Peter.
Proulx, Annie. “The Shipping News” Set on Newfoundland This book had sat on my “To Read” list for years. Proulx creates an amazing world- a cold, rocky place that nevertheless is populated by a fascinating variety of big-hearted, unlikely heroes who are revealed to have all manner of special talents. Quoyle and company, who have never belonged anywhere, gradually fit right in. The staccato, often subject-less or verb-less sentences create a unique and compelling style.