Can we just discuss for a moment here the fact that a picture of someone reading from the Kindle app on their iPad is nowhere near as artsy and appealing as a picture of someone reading an actual book?
I mean, look at Trinity Library in Dublin! It’s breathtaking, and the ambiance is mind-blowing. Then, there is how we entertain ourselves on the Chunnel ride.
I mean, there’s a reason that the kids attending Hogwarts aren’t turning in assignments via tablet – or rather, electronic tablet – right?
However, the world and my reading speed being what it is, it’s the Kindle app for me, because I physically can’t comfortably carry the number of books I need to get through a 12 hour flight, especially since I can’t tell you exactly what sort of mood I’m going to be in when I’m ready to read.
I know that’s a pretty good example of my modern, spoiled self (I can totally hear people saying, “In MY day, we read whatever book was left out in reach, and we liked it!”). But the truth is that I’m not above avoiding certain airlines and airports just so I can take the electronic equivalent of 47 books onto my flight.
So what’s a girl to do when her yearly number of books read runs between the high sixties and low eighties, and she absolutey loves to travel? Start a Read Around the World project, of course! And so last year, I did.
Sometimes I’m absolutely amazed by the books I read – like The Hired Man, by Aminatta Forna – which takes place in a post-Balkan war Croatia. Sometimes I have the worst time in the world trying to get through the story, like I did with The Professor, by Charlotte Bronte, which takes place in Brussels, Belgium.
Sometimes the books are a fantastic glimpse at a culture and a place I have no other way of understanding, like The Ruins of Us, by Keija Parsinssen – which takes place in Saudi Arabia. And sometimes I can only barely associate that particular book with the place it is supposed to be illustrating for me, like Thunderball, by Ian Fleming – which takes place in The Bahamas.
And the worst for me is when a book is set in *several* places, and I have to choose a place for it to take on my list. I tend to really enjoy these sorts of books the most, as though the itchy feet of the characters somehow scratches the itchy feet I have myself. Books like The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel, by Maureen Lindley – which takes place in Japan, China, and Mongolia. It was a fabulous book, and I ended up counting it toward Mongolia, for the simple reason that I already had several books in China and Japan.
I’ve been having an incredible time discovering new places and authors – and new facts! It was by reading Mosquito, by Roma Tearne – which takes place in Sri Lanka during the 25-year civil war – that I learned that the modern form of suicide bomber first came into use in Sri Lanka, and not in the Middle East as I had always assumed. Not a happy fact, but an interesting one.
I may not stop reading around the world when I’ve finally visited every country recognized by the United Nations!