What I Read on my Christmas Vacation

Things timed out well with my consulting clients this year, and I was able to take the ten days or so around Christmas and New Year's off (almost completely - there were a few bits of work to attend to, but not much, thank goodness).

I took some time to go for long walks, do some cooking, explore bookstores and CD shops I hadn't been in recently, check out a diner I'd always wanted to go to, and just sit around - but mostly, I read. I got to really sink into some wonderful books in a way that doesn't seem to happen when I read them in little spurts - usually 15 minutes before I fall asleep.

I had the immense pleasure of reading four complete books, and starting a fifth:

  • The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw - Bradshaw is my favorite newly-discovered author. I devoured this in three days.
  • Summerland by Michael Chabon. I'm not particularly into baseball, but I love stories about kids - especially well-written, inventive stories with smart, struggling main characters.
  • The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. I first encountered this moving story in a short animated film. It's a wonderful book.
  • Island of Ghosts by Gillian Bradshaw - a completely different setting from Alexandria, splendidly evoked. I've wanted to walk Hadrian's Wall for some time now; this just adds to my resolve.

I also started A Time for Gifts, but I'm only about halfway through that.

It's a wonderful luxury to have the time to read, to savor a book and nestle into its world.