When preparing for vacation, I always spend as much time deciding which clothes to pack as I do on which books to bring. I am an avid reader. To be without a book to envelope my self in would be like a chef who found all her ingredients used up, yet hungry for something to eat.
For my recent trip to Spain, I chose 5 books: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Moveable Feast, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms, by Gail Tsukiyama. I tried to think of how much free time I would have for reading. Aside from a few set obligations, like The Colacho Festival and my nephews baptism, our plans were pretty open. Of course we try to plan time with friends and family while we are visiting. But as usual, plans fall through and other times they surface out of nowhere.
Upon arrival, we stopped at our local destination for a few days before setting off to the pueblo. I left 3 of my books behind, as we had planned to stay for only 5 days. I figured I would be fine, as there would be so much to do and so many people to catch up with. Well, of course things changed and not only was I half way through my second book, but we had decided to stay a few extra days and go on a few small outings in the region.
I began to panic. What would I read when my remaining books were well read and digested? My husband suggested I read a novel in Spanish. WHAT? I can read children’s books and get the gist of a newspaper or magazine article, but my reading capabilities in Spanish are not such that I am ready for that type of challenge. Reading a novel in Spanish would take the enjoyment out of reading altogether. It would be like college where I filled my margins with underlines, question marks and a list of words that I did not know the meaning of. “No, thank you,” I told him, “I’m on vacation.”
Instead, I talked to our cousin to get a recommendation for a bookstore in the big city of Burgos, about 25 minutes from the pueblo. We had planned to go to Burgos after lunch in a few days. I was once again content that all would be well for my inner bookworm.
The day arrived, the store was in sight, yet the lights were out. It just so happened that it was a holiday. Some stores (mostly souvenir types), bars and restaurants were open, but others like this bookstore had closed in observance. I tried to hide my disappointment and kept a lookout for other bookstores while we walked around the city.
It wasn’t long before I found one, but lo and behold, the bookstore did not sell any books in English. Sigh. I vowed to keep my chin up. Maybe I would try to read a book in Spanish after all, if that’s what it came down to. I felt desperation creeping over me like a grimy blanket.
Then I saw another bookstore, Espolon. And YES, they did sell books in English, in a section just past the guitars for sale on the wall. On a rotating stand with German and French titles were a few books in English.
I spun the carousel and hoped I could find something worth reading. I had decided not to settle for just anything and mentally tossed the blanket of desperation away. I immediately ruled out books about vampires, cave women, shopping and mystery.That left me with a choice between a British hubby-wife marriage falling out book or a memoir. I chose the memoir.
It turned out I didn’t need the book after all. Our days and nights were suddenly and delightfully filled. I decided to save it for the many flights needed to return home. At least I would not go hungry.
Speaking of home, now that I am back, I will have to round-up some new books for my nightstand to keep me company for the rest of the summer. I would love to hear some recommendations!
Readers, what are your thoughts on a book or two that I should have on my “must read” list?