Readux: Hawaii Edition

I return from my tropical paradise holiday as pale as the day I left! Oh, SPF70 sunscreen, I never want to quit you.

For the past two weeks I was on the island of Maui with my parents, bicycling down volcanoes, snorkelling with turtles, eating the most amazing pad thai ever. And when I wasn’t getting my adventure on or stuffing my face with noodles, I was reading.

So much reading, you guys. Like, back to back hours of reading. I haven’t read like that in a long time, and my curled-up-with-eyes-glued-to-the-page stamina came back fast. To be honest, getting to read like that was almost as thrilling as bicycling down a volcano. It has made my usual 1-hour lunch/reading periods seem very paltry indeed.

Readux #1

 Title: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

 Author: David Sedaris

 Published: 2004

 Genre: Essay/Humour

 Date Started: March 18, 2013 Date Finished: March 29, 2013

 Rating (out of 5): ★★★★

I always like to take a David Sedaris book on holiday with me. They’re funny, the essays are easy to read in one sitting, and they’re so damn funny. Perfect for holidays! (Last year when I went to Las Vegas I was reading A Storm of Swords. The Red Wedding does not make for a happy-fun-time vacation.) Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim was my beach book, and contrary to my usual practice of hoarding books like it’s the literature apocalypse, I left the book behind in the condo we stayed in. I will do anything to get people to read David Sedaris. I am a David Sedaris pusher. My favourite essays from this collection were “Let It Snow,” “Six to Eight Black Men” (cultural misunderstanding hilarity ensues, much like “Jesus Shaves” from Me Talk Pretty One Day), “Possession” (because reading about the wildly inappropriate and selfish thoughts of other people makes me feel better about myself), and “Nuit of the Living Dead” (appealed to the death-intrigued freak in me, much like “Memento Mori” from When You Are Engulfed in Flames). This is also the first David Sedaris book I’ve read since going to a reading he had in Edmonton last year, so the narrating voice in my head sounded just like him, which was pretty cool and leads me neatly into…

Readux #2

 Title: Moab is My Washpot

 Author: Stephen Fry

 Published: 1997

 Genre: Autobiography

 Date Started: March 18, 2013 Date Finished: March 29, 2013

 Rating (out of 5): ★★★★

I never read books concurrently, since reading a book and writing a book is usually enough fiction for my brain to handle. But while I read David Sedaris at the beach, I read Moab is My Washpot at home, usually out on the patio. It is also the first book I read on my shiny new eReader! It is full of Stephen Fry’s wit and humour, but it also had moments of shattering adolescent vulnerability and frank confession of grimmer times. Moab is My Washpot covers Stephen Fry’s… I’m sorry, I can’t write just “Fry.” I know Stephen Fry doesn’t know me, but I love him just too much to use something so impersonal and distant. But I can’t exactly just call Stephen Fry “Stephen,” can I? It’s like how I always have to say “Jane Austen.” First and last name confers both my personal love and my immense respect.

Where was I? Moab is My Washpot covers Stephen’s Fry’s life from his childhood in prep school to his arrest at age 17, but with some stories and certainly wisdom from beyond those periods. I have watched enough QI, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and Kingdom to have memorized pretty much every inflection the Stephen Fry voice is capable of, which made for an immersive reading experience. Obviously, though, this was an autobiography and was meant to sound exactly like speaking Stephen Fry. I think I would like to read one of Stephen Fry’s novels to find if I can hear a different narrating voice even when I know the words are his.

Each book was as similar and dissimilar to the other as the men themselves, and I enjoyed them for similiar and different reasons. Non-fiction and humour are not my usual writing tastes, but I found that I’ve been picky enough to have enjoyed most of the books from those genres that I’ve read.

So, the morals of this post are: visit Maui, it is amazing; read David Sedaris, or listen to the audiobooks if that’s more your jam; and vote Stephen Fry for President of the World.

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