Squawk Radio

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Here I am on vacation...and I suddenly realize that the two good books I brought with me are both finished, another one turned out to be a silly mess and I wish the heroine would lose her job and go homeless instead of just whining about it; and if I have to read The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Vacation aloud one more time, I'll go crazy. Time to go to town!

The problem with vacations, though, is that you don't know where the good bookstores are. The problem is doubled if you are vacationing on a tiny island in Italy. Bookstore? Sure. With English books? You must be joking! But I managed to find a newspaper stand yesterday with a very small rack of foreign books: German, French and a few English. Eragon. My 12-year-old promised it was good, but I couldn't go for it. Don Quixote. A real commitment. Can't do it. A murder mystery about a nun who went homicidal. I'm getting desperate and put it to the side as a possibility while I riffle through four more German books. Finally...

Terry Pratchett. Going Postal A Discworld Novel for $14.00, mass market paperback.

I think I've heard of this person. More: I think that my 12-year-old can read it after me, therefore perhaps silencing a few of his "You're not the boss of me" remarks that are punctuating our vacation.

I buy it...and it's a delight! I'm in love with Pratchett! I may have to buy all 900 discworld novels listed on the back cover, although hopefully not for $14.00.

Truthfully...I would never have bought or read this book but for desperation. It has a goofy cover. The first chapter is "weird," as my 12-year-old reports. It's about a mailman. ho-hum.

But it turns out to be a sarcastic, funny novel about redemption and getting from "I know myself" to "I can do better than myself" -- and there was a romance too. A really nice romance. Plus, you add a bunch of supernatural creatures and a world with magic, and delivering mail is looking a lot more interesting.

What about you? Have you ever been stuck on a less-than-desert island and bought a book you never would have read normally? A drug-store in a one-horse town in the midwest where you discovered a gem? A hospital gift shop with a single rack of paperbacks? Have you ever had a FIND, in other words?
Eloisa James, 11:21 AM