Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte’s Web’

I’ve hardly unpacked and I’m already getting itchy feet. Not today, nor tomorrow, but sometime soon I’ll want to go somewhere else for a bit. Considering the state of my budget and my health, I best be content with living in Florida (yeah, it’s tough this time of year!) and letting my fingers do the wandering, flipping through pages of books of faraway places.

And I have just the guidebook, librarian extraordinare Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers. It follows Book Lust, More Book Lust and Book Crush, which are musts for everyone wondering what to read or reread next. 

I have never met Nancy Pearl, although I did interview her by phone when the Sentinel started its “One Book, One Community” reading program in 2002 with E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. When she was at the Seattle Public Library, Nancy developed the program, “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” which spread across the country. I remember her applauding our choice of Charlotte’s Web, and then we went off on a tangent about other books that had absolutely nothing to do with the story at hand.

Now I listen to her recommended reading on NPR’s Morning Edition and follow her at her website, on Facebook and Twitter. She was recently named Librarian of the Year and was the cover girl for Library Journal. And she has her own action figure. How cool is that?!

We have exchanged occasional e-mails on the virtues of various books — we are both fond of Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar and The Franchise Affair — and periodically wonder why some favorite authors of yesteryear (Elizabeth Cadell, for instance)  have gone out of print.  I always smile when she singles out a book I adore (Robin McKinley’s vampire novel Sunshine), and when she tweets that she just loves Jo Walton’s new book, Among Others, I order it ASAP. I trust her. 

Back to Book Lust to Go. It’s divided into short sections, “A is for Adventure” to “Zipping through Zimbabwe/Roaming Rhodesia,” and you can hop on and off at any spot, as if on a tour bus. The commentary is witty. On Ireland: “Let’s not start with James Joyce and just say we did, okay?”

Hong Kong is a place I’ve visited only via books and movies, and I’ve read several of Book Lust’s recommendations: Janice Y.K. Lee’s The Piano Teacher, Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha, John le Carre’s The Honourable Schoolboy. Up next for me, Gail Tsukiyami’s Night of Many Dreams. I’m also going to reread The Honourable Schoolboy, which Nancy loved on first reading but can’t bring herself to reread because of what she “perceived as its desperate sadness.” Yes, but it’s sooo good, and the middle book in the Smiley trilogy.

Off to Venice, where I once spent a solitary Sunday because my traveling companion had tummy trouble. After finding him some Gatorade (no translation needed), I wandered the city, keeping in mind Donna Leon’s series of mysteries starring Commissario Guido Brunetti, Henry James’ Wings of the Dove, and Salley Vickers’ charming Miss Garnet’s Angel. I even went in search of the church in Vickers’ novel only to find it covered in scaffolding and closed for restoration. If I ever get back, I’ll look for it again.

 Meanwhile, I’ve never read Mary McCarthy’s Venice Observed. And I’m going to shop my shelves for John Berendt’s The City of Falling Angels, Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy and the Great World, and Sarah Caudwell’s Thus was Adonis Murdered. I may need a map to find them, though.

But who needs a plane ticket? In my fabulous new armchair, and with Nancy Pearl as my guide, I’m off to see the world.

Open Book: I bought my copy of Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust to Go (Sasquatch Books), a handy paperback to take on your Grand Tour. The chair’s from Pier One.


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