These books made for sublime holiday experiences



A perfect vacation plus a perfect book equals a perfect experience. That’s hope, anyway. As we settle into the languorous part of summer, I asked readers to share some sublime combinations of books and vacations they have left.

Clark Silcox of the District has an unusual practice. He brings a book he has already read to give him a second look. “Most of the time, I find both the book and the reading experience different from the first time,” he writes.

Clark usually doesn’t try to match the setting of the book instead of the vacation. But he did it once, taking “The Magus” by John Fowles vacationing in the two Greek islands he visited in 2002. Clark first read the 1965 book in the early 1970s, a few years after the release of a film based on it.

“Set on the coastal waters of the Peloponnese peninsula, it merges Greek myth and a bit of World War II history into a tour de force romance,” Clark wrote. “It may have been the shimmering waters of the Aegean Sea around Naxos and Santorini that brought to mind similar visions in the film and book scenes, but the novel was just as good the second time around.”

A beach was also the setting for one of the strongest reading memories of Marti Anderson. “I was totally fried on Waikiki reading ‘The Silence of the Lambs,'” wrote Marti, who lives in Portland, Oregon. “I kept saying, ’20 more minutes’. But I don’t think I could have put it anywhere. For me, peak experience.

Lee Solter from Urbana, Illinois, just spent two weeks with her husband, Phil, in a paddle shack in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness in northern Minnesota. There were many rainy days, perfect for resting with a good book.

Lee read “How to Catch a Mole” by Mark Hammer, which she says is “a beautiful memoir about the love of nature”. And Phil brought “Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art” by Rebecca Wragg Sykessometimes reading it aloud to Lee during marathon puzzle sessions.

Lee wrote, “Reading about our (partial) Neanderthal ancestors and their hunter-gatherer lifestyle was perfect, and complemented the wild berry muffins and cobblers we picked up.

Before embarking on a family trip to Barcelona, Denis Van Derlaske of Woodbridge, Md., handed out homework. He bought several paperback copies of “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon — a book about books and Barcelona — for everyone to read. “It was a wonderful way to get acquainted with an unfamiliar city,” Dennis wrote.

Judy Lacourciere of St. Petersburg, Florida, filled a paper bag with books during childhood car rides. “The longer the book, the better,” she writes. “I loved re-reading the ‘Mary Poppins’ series or a bunch” of books by Ray Bradbury. Now her main criteria for a trip is that the book be long, especially if she is flying, so she has something to read that comes and goes.

Judy wrote: “The last book I brought with me was ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’, which was wonderful and captivating, and every once in a while I looked out the window at the clouds all around me and the world around me. below, which added for my greatest pleasure”, referring to the book of Anthony Doer.

During a trip to Israel, Stuart Lewis of Leesburg, Va., read “The Source” by James Michner. “It really was a great read, as it was about the biblical history of Israel,” Stuart wrote. “It was a great read on its own, but even more so in conjunction with my trip.”

Tina Rhea of Greenbelt, Md., advises, “Whatever books you choose to pack on your travels, if you have a companion, check with them. You might want to swap books on the trip.

She added: “During a rainy week in the mountains of Puerto Rico, my husband sighed when he picked up my copy of ‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon, but he was surprised to find that the time travel romance had enough adventure to keep his interest. Tina thinks her husband brought “The Lord of the Rings” on this trip. She was happy to read it again.

During holidays in Spain and France, Alice Ma of Durham, North Carolina, read 11 of the “Bruno, Chief of Police” mysteries by Martin Walkerwho will soon publish the 15th in his series about a policeman in a part of southern France called Périgord.

“I was transfixed and my next vacation will absolutely be there,” she said. “Mysteries were secondary to scenes of farmers’ markets, rivers, castles, stables, and descriptions of food and wine.”

Alice wrote: “There’s nothing like planning your next vacation while enjoying the ones you have going on. I came back super relaxed and anticipating my next vacation.”

Doesn’t it sometimes seem like the thing we need after a vacation is… another vacation?


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