We stayed in a house in a small town called La Roque sur Pernes in the south of France for two weeks (pictured above). There was no internet, no tv, no radio. I didn’t take my laptop or cellphone. I did take a bunch of books, and there was a shelf-full already there. The result is that I read a lot. Here’s the list, with very short reviews.
- Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. Awesome, A+++, will definitely re-read it. Highly recommended.
- Moving Targets, by Margaret Atwood. Must read for Atwood fans, missable otherwise.
- The Good Earth, by Pearl S Buck. Fantastic.
- Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. This was a third re-read for me, so obviously I love this book.
- Toujours Provence, by Peter Mayle. Meh.
- My Life in France, by Julia Child. Fun and interesting. Julia was quite a woman.
- Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie. Excellent. My favourite of the trip. Short, one-sitting sort of thing, but absolutely fantastic.
- World Without End, by Ken Follett. Another medieval page turner, but very, very similar to his other medieval page turner (the story of which happened in the same town some 400 years earlier). Good, but not great.
- The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley. Erratically written and awkwardly paced. Feels like the outline of a more epic trilogy that just never got written.
- Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson. Sadly, this one doesn’t hold up. Loved it when I first read it however many years ago, sort of slogged my way through it the second time. Luckily Stephenson has already completely redeemed himself with Anathem.
Vacation lesson #1 – I love reading. I’m going to be making a lot more time for it again, mostly by getting up at 6am and not opening the laptop ’til 10am. Turns out it’s a really nice way to start a day.