The over the top art of selecting books for vacation

For my last blog I belly ached that I have not read enough this summer. My vacation changed that because I read three books in about four days. Making my selections for my vacation I veered toward shorter works in hopes to simply finish a couple of them.

I heard good things about Indignation by Phillip Roth, so I flipped through some pages. I noticed the fictitious college in that book is called Winesburg. So with that information I decided to check out Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. The Anderson book I had a history with, in fall of 1997 I was assigned to read it for a class. But I ended up dropping that class and all my classes before I finished reading it. So since then I’ve been curious about reading this book, but never got around to it. The third book I picked and read was The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I picked the Ishiguro book because I heard people refer to it and I liked another book by him called Never Let Me Go.  I had one other book for a book club next week but I did not get around to reading that one.

My vacation started with meeting my sister at a rental car place with the intentions to help with the drive to Florida. In Florida we would meet my parents and my other sister’s family. When we signed for the car they said all drivers need to show a credit card. Apparently my debit card was not good enough. I was upset by this, because I wanted to help out and looked forward to driving. But I learned that even though I don’t use my credit cards anymore I should bring them with me on vacations.  So for this long drive my sister and my brother in law did the driving, while I read.

I decided to read Winesburg, Ohio and it is a strange little book.  It makes sense that when I went through my hardships in 1997 that this confused me even more. Even though it is strange, it is a brilliant book, and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. I think it really captures small town life through the assortment of characters. I think everyone should read this one, and I finished it on the two days of driving from New York to Florida.

The first full day of vacation it was overcast, and even with my whole family there I kind of reclused and read Indignation by Roth. This book does capture the 50’s and the struggles America had with the Korean War. After reading this one I think the college was called Winesburg just to represent the Midwest.  The character goes from New Jersey to a college in Ohio and everything things strange. The ending of this is powerful and I recommend people read it. It is not time consuming and it makes the reader think.

On the second full day of vacation it was still overcast and it did rain some, so I picked up The Remains of the Day and all day I was captivated by this book. The prose flows in a quirky way that you would imagine a way an English butler would talk. The story is good and is the narration of a butler from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. It takes place in the 50’s with him looking back on his life as he takes a road trip to see a woman that used to work with him. I recommend people that are serious about their careers to read this.  As the narrator talks of his career it becomes known that it is a dying institution. So everyone that works should evaluate why what they do is important, and how other people perceive or could perceive what you do as compared to the society ‘norms.’ Contemplating importance of one’s work is what I got out of this book, and it also has a very sad love twist as one of its themes. I recommend this one highly, and I think this author has a new one coming out soon.

For the rest of my vacation the weather cooperated, and I didn’t read anything else. Instead I spent time with my family, swam in the ocean, ate well, and enjoyed myself.

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