Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Salon: A Little Vacation Reading

I am a lake and fresh water kind of girl so of course I am currently overlooking the ocean in SC. And because sharks respect state lines, loads of people are unconcerned about the shark attacks in recent weeks less than an hour up the beach from here (in another state, y'all) and are happily swimming in the ocean. Having just seen the video of the shark attack on the surfer in South Africa (and yes, I appreciate how far away that is), coupled with a long-held fear dating back to Jaws, I have no interest in getting in the water. In fact, when we were scuba diving several years ago and the dive master signaled to all of us that there was a shark (the signal involved a hand on his head like when kids pretend to be sharks in a pool), I think I hyperventilated most of the oxygen in my tank until I realized it was a baby and hiding under coral with absolutely zero interest in attacking us. But I have no desire to meet another shark any time soon, so I'll stay on the room's balcony or lounge by the pool with my book.

Meanwhile, my crazy daughter and her friends will play on the beach. (The kid buried in the sand is mine and she says it's hard to breathe under all that sand. Plus she had sand in her eyes and mouth, so that's yummy. ;-P)

She's the reason I'm here at the ocean instead of at the lake. She's a competitive dancer and we're at Nationals. She's already danced her solo and earned a National Elite Top First award (the highest award possible) and took 16th overall. I don't know how many kids there were competing but it sure seemed like loads. She's the one in the black here with her fellow senior dancers and their teacher.

As is generally true at dance competitions, I am not getting an overwhelming amount of reading done but since this one is longer than usual, we have a bit more down time and I'm not trapped in an auditorium all day every day so I have done a little bit. My actual travels this past fortnight have taken me from Upper Peninsula Michigan to back home, from home to Asheville, NC and back again, and from home to Myrtle Beach, SC so far. I have bought books in all of these places (duh!) but I also brought more than my fair share with me as well. Many of my books are as well traveled as I am.

The books themselves have taken me even further afield than my actual travels have. Over the last two weeks, I have spent time in New York City, first in the NICU with a severely premature baby whose very existence inspired a nationwide conversation about insurance and the value of one life and then in a Jewish orphan's home and a Jewish old folks home with a young woman who was experimented on medically while a child too young, alone and defenseless to protest and who later finds herself the nurse to the dying doctor who perpetrated this evil. I split some time between Miami's Little Havana and a New England college campus with the daughter of Cuban immigrants, the first of her family to go to college, who happens to go amidst turmoil surrounding a young Cuban boy similar to Elian Gonzalez. I traveled out to the West Coast and just inland in a series of short stories. I went hiking in the Sierra Nevadas with four disparate Los Angelenos who run into trouble and face trials they never imagined on what should have been a strenuous but wonderful camping trip into the beauty of the natural world. I was in Hungary with a prize winning author and the inscrutable housekeeper who organizes her life and teaches her lessons. I walked across Canada with an elderly woman who is starting to forget things and with her husband and neighbor in Saskatchewan waiting for her to come home. And now I am in Alabama and New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and a terrible car accident that killed a runaway girl and a mother, looking for the connection between the two dead and the surviving mother and daughter. Where have you been this summer, either literally or in the book world?


  1. I would be leery of the ocean this year too!

    Congratulations to your daughter - I'm sure this success represents years of hard work and sacrifice.

    My literary travels took me to Paris this week (and probably next week as well...)

  2. You made me laugh with your --sharks respect state lines comment...LOL
    Congrats to your daughter Kristen.

  3. I don't think the sharks would get you if you just got in to your knees or so. that is what I'd do anyway. But I understand your fear. Hope you visit my Sunday Salon, too.

  4. We have a beach house in Myrtle Beach, but I hang out by the pool. I do love the sound of the ocean and watching the waves roll in, but I usually go in only once a year up to my ankles :)


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