27 September 2010

Hmm, what to read?

What am I going to read?  Answering that question is one of the most fun aspects of planning for any trip, especially a big one.

For 5 weeks in Africa I brought along the Lord of the Rings trilogy, wanting to get them finally read before the movies began coming out later that year. Finished them all, but imprinted the story on the Nigerian landscape. Forever in my mind, Mordor will be Zaria's broken mountain, and Sam our elderly, disabled housekeeper at the Kano Guesthouse.

So, what am I going to read in China?  My strategy:
  1. 2 slim volumes for the long flights from Portland to Hong Kong (via Tokyo), engaging somewhat quick reads that will keep me awake
  2. 1 slim volume for 3 days in Hong Kong and the flight to Fuzhou, something topical/local
  3. 1 large, dense read to last the whole 3-week exchange, something very not-Chinese, for contrast and enjoyably odd imprinting
  4. 1 slim volume for the flight Fuzhou>Hong Kong, and the long flight home (on which I will try to sleep)
My selections:
  1. The Ghost Map  by Steven Johnson, and Gentlemen of the Road: a Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon
  2. When China Ruled the Seas by Louise Levathes
  3. The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
  4. Amsterdam: a Novel by Ian McEwan

Whew. That was hard. Good thing I'm a librarian.

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