Last week I got to enjoy two of my favorite activities--travel and reading. The one thing that makes air travel bearable these days is knowing I'll have a few uninterrupted hours to crawl into whatever book I've stashed in my bag. Reading can even make the stale pretzels they give me seem tasty.
Now, I am always reading, always rearranging my TBR pile, choosing what to read next by whim or mood. So, selecting which book or books to take when I travel involves some planning, some guessing at what I'll have a taste for down the road. But one of the unintended results of reading while on the road is the synergy that can occur between book and place. When a book really transports me, thinking about it later or rereading it can take me back to where I was when the words first cast their power over me. And likewise, revisiting a particular place, in fact or in memory, can bring those pages alive again.
Rarely, has a book and trip ever meshed as perfectly as happened last week between my trip to Oregon and Amy MacKinnon's debut stunner Tethered.
I love mountains. And seacoast. Roads winding through pine forests. I love seeing a different geography than home. Travel introduces me to new worlds and so do books. This summer I've been lucky enough to visit parts of the US I'd never seen before. Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, Washington and Oregon. And I also got to see a lonely undertaker and funeral home and cold, chilly town on the East Coast. And the views blended into something that still has a hold over me.
Here's what I wrote to Amy when I got back from my travels:
Yes, there were things that were hard to read but the writing is so powerful and lovely. It's beautiful and brutal--kind of like the Badlands. And the message--that brokenness can be healed, that in reaching out to others in pain our own pain can be helped--was so right. And the last line is now in my top 10 (or perhaps top 5) of perfect endings.
This is an amazing book--and while I got to read it while looking at Mt. Hood, I know Amy's words would have transported me no matter where I was.
And no cheating and reading the last line first. But, mark my words, it will blow you away.