Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Travel Book Report

I think I'm more or less back to what passes for "normal" around here. I'm almost caught up on TV I taped while I was gone, I've waded through all the e-mail and I think I'm even caught up on rest. The new walking shoes seem to have worked because I did a lot of walking without any blisters, and I came home without being all that sore. I also owe American Airlines a thanks for their greedy policy to charge for any checked bags because that forced me to travel lighter than I usually do, and that worked out very well. I didn't feel like I lacked anything, and it was nice not having to wait for bags. Plus, being so lightly burdened made it easier to get around. Normally, I take the subway from Penn Station (after taking the train from the airport) to the hotel near Times Square, but I arrived right at rush hour and didn't love the idea of being on a packed subway with luggage, so I thought I'd give walking a try. It was closer than I realized, and probably even easier than the subway because my bag's on wheels and just rolled along the sidewalks, while doing the subway means hauling the bag up and down stairs.

My airplane reading on the way to New York was the third Dresden Files book, Grave Peril, and while I really liked the first two, I LOVED this one. In fact, I was almost done with it at the end of the flight, and as soon as I got to my hotel, I sat down to finish it. I love Harry Dresden as a character because of his crazy chivalry. I'm a sucker for a guy who will always try to do the right thing, no matter what the cost may be, and especially if he's well aware of the cost and maybe even reluctant to do the right thing, but knows that he couldn't live with himself if he didn't try. But throw in Michael (was he in the earlier books? I don't remember), and wow. It's a trick to create a character who is so utterly pure and righteous and pious and not make him come across as a prig. He's a real person who is good through and through and still fun. I suspect a complete devouring of the rest of the series may be on the horizon.

My return trip reading was The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. My favorite Discworld story line involves the Watch, and I think I've now read all the Watch books to-date. And I think I'm even more in love with Carrot -- come to think of it, yet another pure and righteous character who manages to still be interesting. With him, I think it helps that his supposed simplicity makes him impossible to read, and he's usually presented from someone else's point of view, so you're never entirely sure what's going on with him. I love characters where you get hints of a lot of strength and power that isn't necessarily being used all the time, hidden behind a bland facade.

And, as usual after reading a Terry Pratchett book, now I find myself re-reading ones I read earlier that come later in the chronology than the one I just read because now I understand the references and it all takes on new meaning for me. That doesn't help with digging my way through the to-be-read pile.

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