Most keen readers would know the fear of being stuck somewhere with time to kill without a book to read. There is nothing worse than thinking of all the time you are wasting when you could have been reading. This doesn’t happen to me often, but occasionally on holiday I underestimate my reading capacity. I have the kind of holidays that involve carrying backpacks so weight is a major consideration.
Last week, I was out ski touring in Kosciusko National Park. On day two I finished Caleb’s Crossing and anxiety set in. I looked enviously at my son who was gaily reading his way through any number of lengthy fantasy novels on his Kindle. Imagine my delight when we did a day tour to another hut and I found a stash of old novels thoughtfully left behind. Blackeyes by Dennis Potter was the perfect accompaniment to the last couple of days of the trip.
It made me think of the other treasures I have picked up to read on my travels – Murakami’s IQ84 in a backpackers in Tokyo, Peter Matheson’s The Snow Leopard in Kathmandu and Zen and the Art of Motorbike Maintenance in London. Picking up books like this is a special part of travel. In a way it bonds you to that other anonymous other travelling reader you will never meet.
While it might be time to buy a Kindle and load it up with a hundred books, I still think you can’t beat the excitement of waiting to see what fate will deliver.
Have you ever picked up any literary treasures while on the road?
If you are in the Northern Rivers next week, Jessie Cole, author of Darkness on the Edge of Town and myself will be doing talks at Lennox Head library at 10.30am on Tuesday 24th July and Lismore Library on Thursday 26th July at 5.30pm. Free events. All welcome.