It's that time of year again

I bet you all feel really sorry for me –– it's that time of year again when thou mayest behold me as I agonize over which book to take on my trip abroad…

See, I'd actually made up my mind: I'd planned to take Stephen Fry's Moab Is My Washpot ; the very one which Clara (=Mom) enjoyed so much, that she begged Mr. Fry to write a sequel. (He sweetly declined. See bottom of page). But I can't find the ruddy thing!!! Grrr!!! (Vered , my abject apologies for all those exclamation marks.) Obviously, the minute I buy a new/second-hand copy, the old one will resurface. Besides, I don't have time to get a new one – we're flying Friday morning, and I doubt very much that Natbag  bookstores would have it.

So here I go dithering again.

I've just finished reading Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go . Let me tell you – this blood-curdling novel will never let me go. Clara warned me. I'm not saying I'm sorry I read it – it's very good. But so depressing! I hate depressing books. They depress me. I don't enjoy being depressed. I can't go into details and tell you precisely what it's about, because that would constitute a Major Spoiler. Not that there's a twist in the plot a la The Crying Game  or Planet of the Apes… In fact, going back to the first page of the book, it seems to be all spelled out right there on Page One (actually p. 3). But when first reading it, it doesn't really sink in. You don't quite get it.  The first mention of what's really going on is only on page 80 (out of 282); then pivotal events and crucial bits of information appear gradually closer together – on pages 136, 164, 207, 228. [All page numbers refer to the Faber & Faber paperback edition, 2006.] The plot takes place in "England, late 1990s", and is a dystopia, in the same sense that  George Orwell's 1984 , Neville Shute's On the Beach,  Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange  and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451  are, to name a few famous ones. Yet its tone and point of view are different, low key, and … but that would be telling.

In brief, after that sad tale, I didn't want another heart-breaker. But I happened to pick up Philip Roth's The Plot Against America. Here's yet another dystopia if ever there was one, and on a more epic scale at that. Since I felt I didn't know enough American history to do the novel justice, I started from the Postscript, that runs in tiny print from page 363 to 391. So far I've read a brief bio of FDR and of Charles A. Lindbergh. But, as interesting as it all is, it's not the type of novel I like to take on vacation with me. So I'm stuck.

Now, if I had a Kindle, say…


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