Friday, September 15, 2006

A Book Emergency Averted

I'm in England now, having jaunted across last night in order to visit my best friend Katy at Oxford, celebrate the completion of her doctoral dissertation ("Felix Fabri and His Audiences: the Pilgrimage Writings of a Dominican Preacher in Late-Medieval Germany"), and meet her charming anarchist fiance Josh. Last night at the airport I realized I hadn't packed properly for the trip -- by which I mean that of the four books I brought with me, I hadn't brought one I was really eager to read, something that would help me survive the many traveling hours ahead; nor could I come up with an appropriate title that might fit the bill. Then I thought "Oh! The Sea of Monsters!" and virtually ran to the airport bookstore to see if I could secure it (the sequel to The Lightning Thief). No such luck, but I did spy Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which I knew Katy hadn't read; so I bought the paperback, reread it myself on the plane (practically purring with pure prose pleasure -- glory, I love Susanna Clarke's writing*), and gave it to Katy with her congratulations-on-finishing-your-thesis gifts this afternoon. And now I'm here and I can raid her bookshelves* for the next five days. Hurrah!
* And per the ad in the back, she has a short-story collection coming out this fall! The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Sept. 2006.
** This likely includes a reread of Gaudy Night at some point, given that Oxford always puts me in the mood for it and I got to visit a real SCR this afternoon.


  1. Have a great time in England,
    and travel safely home


    It should be beautiful over there right now!

    Margaret :)

  2. Ooh, Gaudy Night is SUCH a lovely book. Enjoy Oxford!

  3. Oooh - my homeland. What a fantastic and magical place. Enjoy it and soak up the atmosphere.

    K :)

  4. Ow - I just got back from two weeks in England and I'm homesick for it already. I was born in the wrong country. Have a wonderful time!

  5. Reading Gaudy Night in Oxford - what could be more perfect? I just got back from England this week and found myself quoting Lord Peter when I was there. And we ate at Fortnum & Mason's, because every English mystery seemed to have someone bringing a hamper from Fortnum & Mason's to a picnic.

    While I was there, I started reading Anna Quindlen's "Imagined London," and I highly recommend it for all lovers of London and books.

  6. I've never been to England. One day.


  7. Don't just drop hints of touring a SCR without elaborating! What was it like? Noisy? Beautiful? Full of old oak paneling and musty smells?

    Once on a trip to England I went to Cambridge just to rent a punt. It is a lot harder than it looks! The poles are really long and heavy and wet!

    Here's hoping that you have an amazing time and meet a nice grad student who speaks piffle,



  8. I really enjoyed The Lightning Thief, I'm reading it w/my 4th/5th grade gifted class. The teachers guide that Riordan wrote is fantastic (so nice to not have to do all the work)! My class is enjoying mythology in a completely new light and the projects they're completing are amazing. Several kids have taken the initiative to go to the bookstore and buy their own copies to read ahead...the sign of a book they truly enjoy :)
    I saw the sequel recently @Borders, but I'm waiting for it to come out in the Scholastic Book Clubs (hint...hint!)

  9. Wow, Thursday night... we were traveling to London at the exact same time (only I from Providence, not NY). Small world :)


  10. Zero. Sympathy. None whatsoever. So there.