Reading on the road


Remember last year, when I forgot how to read? Those were trying times. Fortunately, not having a job or an internet connection for most of the day has enabled me to get back in touch with reading, which I am overjoyed about. So overjoyed, in fact, that I demolished 6 books in the first 6 weeks of this trip. That is a massive achievement for me considering last year I struggled to focus attention for long enough to read a single page. My best time for finishing a novel is 24 hours, a record I’m not sure I can or want to beat.

The first two books I read were The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes and Courting Trouble by Kathy Lette. The Marian Keyes book was predictably farfetched but an easy and enjoyable read. I admire Kathy Lette hugely for her intelligence, wit and contributions to feminism but her prose just makes me cringe.

The next book I read was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Like reading The Quiet American in Vietnam or The Beach in Thailand, reading Wild while practically driving the Pacific Crest Trail was delightful. I even insisted we visit the Ashland Co-op in Oregon because it was in the book. I also appreciated the frequent references to REI and the detail of her struggle to hike in the beginning.

I picked up The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing from the book exchange at our hostel in Eugene and finished it in two days. It was the exact kind of novel I love about slightly mundane everyday existence and coming of age written so perfectly and eloquently.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a thriller recommended from someone online (if it was you, thanks!) and was completely unlike what I would usually read and completely un-put-down-able. Read it before they make the movie version!

When we were in Portland, Andrew and I decided to read as many books from this list of 50 you should read before you die. So we bought 7 of the books from the list secondhand from Powell’s, a well known and loved bookstore in the city. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon was the book I polished off in 24 hours. I think this book would be pretty moving if you had never read a book from the point of view of a person living on the autism spectrum, but I have, so it reminded me a lot of The Rosie Project just with a younger protagonist.

At the moment I am reading Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event. And although reading about aviation disasters while travelling may be unwise, I am loving it. I devoured pretty much all of Blume’s back catalogue as a kid, so I’m really enjoying reading her work again.

Over to you now, what are you reading at the moment? What’s on your list? Do you have any recommendations for me?

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6 Responses to Reading on the road

  1. Patrick Caruana says:

    Bec, reading and books are salvation. Due to everything that is going on I struggle to take in a novel so magazines are my thing at the moment, The last novel I read was a month ago when I started re reading some of the old books in my home library. I started re reading some Edwardian and Victorian era fiction and read “The 39 Steps” by John Buchan. The English language has changed considerably and the modern editions of those books lose something in the modernising. Novels from that time are also a great social history.

    Keep reading and travel safely.

    Ciao for now.

    • Bec says:

      I find reading Victorian era fiction really difficult as first, but once I get into it I start wishing that we still conversed in that way. It’s so clever and in a weird way, satisfying.

  2. Kaz says:

    Oh, The Girl on the Train was my recommendation- glad you liked it!

    I was a massive Judy Blume fan as a teenager. Have you read Summer Sisters? Another of her adult novels.

    • Bec says:

      Thank you Kaz! I loved it, literally couldn’t put it down. I haven’t read Summer Sisters, downloading it onto my Kindle asap 🙂

  3. michelle says:

    Oohhh! I HATED The Girl on the Train!! Both female protagonists were just so unlikeable that I wasn’t really invested in either of their stories. But I admit, despite this, I was keen to find out why she was such a trainwreck, pardon the pun.

    I think you mean The Rosie Project reminded you of Curious Incident! Afterall, Curious Incident was written years and years ago so any similarities have to be the other way around!

    • Bec says:

      Haha I did keep thinking “Whhhyyyyy?! Whhhhhyyyyyyyy?!?!” During The Girl on the Train. She is such a disaster.
      Oh wow I didn’t even think to check when Curious Incident came out! I guess because I read The Rosie Project first, so I just kept referring back to it.

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