I’m off to Vegas for the weekend to help a girlfriend celebrate a milestone birthday. It’s my first visit, and aside from neon and casinos, I don’t really know what to expect. I’m not a gambler but I am a keen observer. My flight lands at McCarran at 10:30 a.m., which gives me just enough time to get to the hotel and be poolside with a cocktail and a book by noon.
As far as my book wardrobe goes, I’m having a difficult time choosing which titles to bring. I’m a few chapters into Death in a Strange Country (Donna Leon) and stand a fair chance of finishing the book on the plane. I’ve made some good progress on the next book group title, Then We Came to the End, which could be perfect poolside fare. Since learning I have a conflict and can’t attend the next book group, there’s no need to finish it soon.
I’ve already ruled out my recent hardcover purchases (Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth or Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book) owing to bulk. Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food is too nutritious for vacation reading.
Here are the contenders:
~ On a Hoof and a Prayer—Polly Evans’ tour of Argentina on horseback
~ Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals (edited by Douglas Bauer)—short in length, essays are good bedfellows when faced with the distractions of travel
~ Sound Bites—one part foodie, one part travel, essays written by Franz Ferdinand lead singer, Alex Kapranos
~ Casino Royale—James Bond, gambling, classic Ian Fleming, no brainer
~ Emperor’s Children—Claire Messud’s critically acclaimed novel