Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reading Before/After Vacationing

I have a friend who loves to read novels set in the city or country he’s about to travel to. For example, last year, we both attended a conference in San Francisco, and he prepared in part by reading novels (and also watching films) set in that city. I know other people who like to do the same thing as a way of entering holiday mode.

As for me, I actually prefer reading such novels after I’ve been on the vacation. That’s because then I can picture the scenes and I can understand the interaction of setting with plot and character better. Also, it keeps that holiday mode going a bit longer. It’s just a matter of personal preference, though.

Not long ago, I was at the library, browsing shelves, and I randomly picked up a book called Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdottir, translated from Icelandic to English by Philip Roughton. I turned to the back cover and saw that this crime novel was set in Iceland’s Westmann Islands (the so-called Vesuvius of the North), where I’d been earlier this year. That immediately sparked my interest and I checked out the book. I loved that the book was set in a place that I’d visited and that I knew something about. It made my enjoyment of the story much deeper and more personal somehow. And reading the novel also brought back wonderful memories from my holiday to Iceland.

What about you? Do you enjoy reading books before/after a vacation that are set in the vacation destination? Why or why not? And do you have any favorite such novels to recommend?

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