And like the dope-fiend who cannot move from place to place without taking with him a plentiful supply of his deadly balm I never venture far without a sufficiency of reading matter ….

But when I am starting on a long journey the problem is formidable ….

Exactly – how do you choose from a TBR of 700+? Back in the days of travel by ship and train, the narrator of Somerset Maugham’s short story, The Book Bag, didn’t need to.

… since then I have made a point of travelling with the largest sack made for carrying soiled linen and filling it to the brim with books to suit every possible occasion and every mood. It weighs a ton and strong porters reel under its weight.

Unfortunately my porter, who incidently agrees with the statement that “women who read are dangerous”, particularly when we’re travelling and he’s carrying, isn’t so accommodating. (Not even after 25 years ….)  It’s been tough but I’ve got the travelling TBR down to just 6.  He won’t even notice!

Californian Reading

On the left from bottom up: 1) Ross MacDonald – The Doomsters,  2) Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge.  Chosen because I need a novel from the 50’s and another with a colour in the title to finish this year’s reading challenges.  3) Michael Ondaatje – Divisadero,  because 5 months in and I still haven’t made a start on the 3rd Canadian Reading Challenge plus Divisadero is somewhere in California.  (Will I find it?).  4) Michael Connelly – The Closers – to read when in Los Angeles.  5)  Glen David Gold – Carter Beats The Devil – a tall of 1920’s mystery and illusion, set in San Francisco  6) Love Letters From My Death Bed – Cynthia Rogerson – chosen because I’m on a downer – or will be when this holiday is over  it’s set on a beach in California and I’ll probably never get the chance to read it in situ again. 

My Californian friend says it’s cold over there.  It’s only 65F.  Hmm – don’t think we’ve seen 65F at all in Scotland this year and come rain, hail,  or shine, I have decided I’m going for a paddle in the Pacific ….. I’ll only change my mind if I spot a frozen cobweb.  Now, that’s what I call cold.

See you when I get back.  Happy reading!


P.S Frances at NonSuch Book has treated Somerset Maugham’s The Book Bag less facetiously and, in so doing, has written a brilliant review.