A couple weeks ago, the New York Times asked a dozen writers to share their memories of reading in the summer. I was not among those invited, hehe, but I’m participating anyway.
Growing up, my parents and I went back to my mother’s homeland every 4 years or so. Just getting there took almost a full day, as we flew from from city to city across the globe. Houston to Taipei by way of Los Angeles, Tokyo, or Seattle. One of these times, I found myself facing a 14-hour flight with nothing to read. I had either forgotten my book at home, or else finished it during the first leg of our travels. Either way, I needed another, so my mother took me to quickly raid the nearest airport shop before it was time to board.
In those days, your cell phone (if you had one) could not tell you what the Amazon or GoodReads reviews were. You just looked at covers, read some jacket copy, and bought the book that sounded the most interesting to you. Crazy, but it worked.
I ended up with MONSOON by Wilbur Smith, an epic story of 3 brothers in the 19th century, spanning from England to Africa to the Middle East, full of sailing, warfare, and sex. It was unlike anything I had ever read before, and I tucked into my window seat and blazed through it nonstop. By the time I finished the 800 or so pages (mass market paperback) we were halfway across the Pacific. Though only hours had passed, I felt older and wiser by years, and excited but weary from battling pirates on the high seas and racing camels across the desert.
I don’t remember anything else about that flight, but I still keep MONSOON by my bed at my parents’ house, so I can relive those adventures time and time again.
Want to share your memories of summertime reading? Email me with brief anecdotes, or post on your own blog and then send me a link, and I’ll publish a roundup!