The End of American Hegemony
Sharing the Miracle

Gearing Up for Vacation

In two days I fly to Sarasota, Florida for a week of vacation! This is the first real, week-long vacation I've taken in two years. The last was my trip to Chicago in September 2004.

I haven't been in Florida in 20 years (seriously) and have never been to Florida. A couple of church members have a time share condo there, and they invited me to come and stay for a week. I can't wait to lie on the beach and read and look at hot boys. How much relaxing fun is that going to be!

In fact, I've been spending time working on the stash of books I'm going to take along. I went to Borders on Friday and spent a couple of gift cards that I had saved up. I bought a collection of WH Auden poems, not so much for the trip, but because I needed it. I bought Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and plan on taking it on the trip. This book was recently named the fourth best American novel of the past quarter century. I didn't know anything about it, but put it high on my list to read soon. I also got a V. S. Naipaul novel. I've been meaning to read some Naipaul since he won the Nobel prize, and he's been on my wish list for a couple of years (no one EVER buys you anything from that, as Joe Hill told me way back when). I'll probably take that on the trip as well. I'll probably also take Billy Budd, which I've never read, and Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Mom had loaned me the latter some months ago, and it has been in the stack to read. Time last week had an article on young writers and said that Zadie Smith was the best and this was her best work, so I bumped it up the list as well.

Now I often read four or five books when I'm on vacation, so the fifth one is Barbara Brown Taylor's memoir on why she left the ministry. I assume those five will do me, but I might take a sixth just to be safe. If so, it will probably be some Armistead Maupin. Gosh, if I read all of this, I will have so dramatically moved through my reading list that I might have to go buy more books after the vacation!


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I agree - NO ONE ever buys you stuff from that Wish List.

Clarification question: which is it, have you NEVER been to Florida or just not in 20 years?

Scott Jones

never to Sarasota. Not to Florida in 20 years.


So Blood Meridan has made my list as well. I'm working through American Pastoral right now, and it is very good, only sad I didn't get to it sooner. Also bought Rabbit Angstram (all four of the collection) to read next. Maybe I need a reading vacation?

Scott Jones

I'll be curious as to your thoughts on the Rabbit novels. I read them over hte course of a year or two. There is actually a fifth installment, a novella, I've read part of it, but not hte entire thing. I need to get that done.


I'm excited you're getting around to Blood Meridian. I think you know McCarthy is one of my big three (DeLillo and W. Percy rounding out the trinity). I'll look forward to talking with you about it (didn't we discuss that book over pool and booze at your home last month?).
However, a bit of a caveat: I don't know if Blood Meridian is much of a sitting on the beach type of book. It's incredibly violent and disturbing. Which would suit me fine at a beach, what with my terrors and everything, but not really a light-hearted coming of age story.
Anyway. Hope you love it. And I hope you have a wonderful vacation. I know you're deserving of one.

Scott Jones

Thanks. It was great.

So, we will have to discuss htis again. I don't like Blood Meridian, nor can I understand why it should rank so high on lists of recent novels. You'll have to explain that one.

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