Friday, 2 April 2010

The dilemma of traveling

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Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

In a couple of days time we are going on holiday to New York, and we will have a flight for about 8 hours. This leaves me with the important dilemma that I always have when I travel anywhere - what shall I take with me to read?

I like to read something set in the place I am going, so I have been raiding my bookshelves for books set in New York.

So far I am coming up with:

"Underworld" by Don Delillo. I have been meaning to read this for ages, and I have enjoyed the books that I have read by him. The one thing that puts me off is the practicality - it is a quite a thick and heavy book to carry when traveling.

"New York Trilogy" by Paul Auster. I read this years ago, and enjoyed it. I'd quite like to read it again, and I do think of it as a quintessential New York book. This is one of my top choices.

"A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith. I was given this by a friend years ago, as it is a book he loves. I still haven't read it, and I feel rather guilty that I still haven't read it.

"Guys and Dolls and Other Stories" by Damon Runyon. Another of my top choices. This has a more period angle on New York, and I think is probably lighter reading (and carrying) than a couple of my other choices.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Truman Capote. I'm not sure about this one. I will read it at some point - but it doesn't appeal to me right now. This is probably one that I am less likely to take.

Underfoot in Showbusiness" and "Apple of my Eye" by Helen Hanff. I was quite excited to find these on my bookshelves at my parent's house, as I had forgotten that I owned them. I will definitely take these. Helene Hanff - who is probably best known for "84 Charing Cross Road" - is a very engaging writer, and I will enjoy reading her take on the New York she knew so well. That's also another advantage of the book - it is about New York, not just set in New York.

I know what will probably happen. I won't be able to decide, and I will probably take the Helene Hanff books, the Damon Runyon and the Paul Auster. They are not very thick (in fact the 4 of them together would probably not be as thick and heavy as just taking "Underworld").

Incidentally, I am very excited - and this relates to my last blog post. I have just discovered that Stephen Sondheim and the cast of "A Little Night Music" are doing a signing of cast recordings while I am in New York. I think I might have to join the queue for this...

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