Monthly Archives: April 2010

Under the Volcano

Stuck in Heathrow/Schiphol/La Guardia/Charles de Gaulle? Finished your Grisham and your George and need some new reading material? I’ve got the perfect selection of novels you can read to while away the time.

My first choice is Margaret Elphinstone’s Hy Brasil. This is one of my favourite novels of all time, and it is the perfect thing to distract you from airport food. The story of Sydney Redruth’s visit as a travel writer under false pretenses to the imaginary island of Hy Brasil, a place that combines elements of Bermuda, Newfoundland, the Faroes, and yes, Iceland, located somewhere in the north Atlantic, it includes pirates (yes), ancient treasure, love, drug smuggling, political corruption, and indeed, a great big erupting volcano. You won’t be able to put it down.

While you’re in the Elphinstone section of the airport bookstore, check out her The Sea Road, a novel about a woman of Iceland who travels with the Vikings to the coast of Newfoundland. Not only will it pass the time, it will give you some ideas about possible alternate routes and methods for crossing the Atlantic while your airplane is stuck on the ground.

If it is more volcanoes you want, I suggest, Dorothy Dunnett’s To Lie with Lions, which has the benefit of still being in print. I won’t give away the plot, except to say that it has a fabulous climax during a fifteenth-century explosion of Mount Hekla, in Iceland. It is the sixth book of an eight book series though, so you’d be best off starting the series with book one, and reading through. Don’t worry. You’ve got time.

Alison Pick has Far to Go.

After sales in Canada, Italy, and the Netherlands (am I forgetting any?), Alison has cracked the U.S. market. From Publisher’s Marketplace this morning:

Alison Pick’s FAR TO GO, an epic historical novel set during the lead-up to Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and the fate of one Jewish family, to Claire Wachtel at Harper Perennial, in a good deal, by Barbara Howson at House of Anansi Press.

Can a U.S. book tour be far behind? Here’s hoping for Chicago.

80’s shoes

Check it out:

I found this post the usual way by following a link that took me to a link and then to another, but this one stopped me cold.  Dear Reader, I owned almost every single pair of these shoes.  Not the Tretorns.  My sister owned the Tretorns.  But Duck boots? Check.  Jellies? Check?  Penny loafers (no pennies; that’s TTFW), topsiders, espadrilles?  Check, check, check.  I even owned a series of pairs of Dr. Scholl’s.  In fact, I still have the last pair and I wear them at the cottage.  God, I was such a  preppy.

I haven’t felt so bad since I realized my local Whole Foods plays the soundtrack of every high school dance I ever attended every time I shop there.  I’d better stay away from Urban Outfitters or it could get ugly.

My Keds were pink, by the way.  And this is not an Aril Fool’s joke.  I only wish.