Travel - Books

8:23 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

I spent an hour today in the bookstore. We have a fantastic locally owned bookstore here. I love going there just to flip through the different books. The section I spend my time in depends on my mood or what I am interested in at the time. I have worn the rug in the cookbook section and the travel section. I have found some real gems for cheap in the used section on several occasions too. This trip was in one of my favorite places to spend time, the Mystery/Thriller section. I am going on vacation and I need a new book.

As an avid reader, I have blown through thousands of books in my time. I enjoy reading a great deal and never am without a book that I am in the middle of. I have a list of favorite authors whose book releases I track. I have a sort of schedule. I usually know the next two or three books I am going to be reading at any given time. Vacation books are different. The book I bring on vacation has to be different. It must reflect the vacation I am going on. Depending on the location of my destination I read at different times of day. On a trip to Paris I will be reading mostly on the airplane, then at night before I go to bed. If I am on a tropical vacation I begin by reading on the plane but most of the reading is done during the day while laying out on the beach.
Breakfast on our balcony in Kauai

When I went to Ireland, I read a murder mystery book set in Ireland one time, and another time I read The Lost Painting, partially set in Ireland.
When I went to Paris last, I read "The Judgement of Paris" by Ross King because it was about the revolution of Impressionism in France.

Most of the books for these types of trips I read are a little bit thought provoking and insightful.

Today I had to pick out a book for my trip to Hawaii. What I look for in a book that I am bringing to Hawaii is anything but thought provoking. I want an easy to read, fun, exciting book. I like the book to be set on the ocean, in the tropics, in a jungle or other warm, humid place. In the past, I have brought along some Clive Cussler books.
Clive Cussler is a very simple read with very simple characters. There is action sprinkled with cheesiness. His writing is not juvenile, just simple. One thing I like about his books is that he always puts himself in them. It is very egotistical but always hilarious and silly. His books center around a group of renegade scientists who work for NUMA, The National Underwater Marine Agency. The books are categorized as "techno-thrillers" but unlike other authors in this field, like Michael Crichton, Cussler makes no attempt to be realistic, but rather eccentric and outrageous. I like this in a "lay-on-the-beach" book.
Another great author that I have taken to Hawaii is James Rollins. In recent times, Rollins has been writing a series of books about the same group of people called the Sigma Force which are basically "killer scientists". I read the Sigma Force novels as they come out but these are not the ones I like to bring on my vacations as much as James Rollins' other novels. In the beginning of his career writing as James Rollins he wrote a series of fantastic adventure books set in jungles, caves and underwater. There is no connection between these books aside from how great they are. One time, I was on an 8 day vacation and I blew through one of these books so fast that I ran to the bookstore on the island I was staying on to get another. The best books of his for reading in a tropical setting are Amazonia, Excavation, and Subterranean.

A book I read recently would be perfect for a tropical vacation but unfortunately I have already read it or I would be bringing it on this trip. It is Michael Crichton's last book, Pirate Latitudes.
Set in the Spanish occupied Caribbean, this book has everything you could ask for in a pirate book. I would imagine that Congo would be another good book by this author to bring on a tropical vacation but having seen the movie, I am reluctant to bring the book on vacation because if I do not like it, I have no other option. I prefer to read the book BEFORE seeing the movie.

So there I was, standing in the middle of the Mystery/Thriller section, browsing the various authors. I was looking for an interesting title or cover. Something with water, jungles, boats...something that implies lots of action, espionage, killing, science or something along those lines. It is risky to pick out a book whose author you are not familiar with. You may not like their style and then you are stuck on vacation with something that you do not like. I did this with Dean Koontz. I did some research on him and found that he wrote some thriller books but I then found that his writing style is too juvenile like he is writing for kids or illiterate people. I found that very distracting. I was stuck camping and had two of his books to read. I got through them, but was disappointed. This trip is going to be 10 days of relaxation and good times so I decided to go with an author that I am vaguely familiar with just to be safe.

The book I settled on? Don't laugh. Matthew Reilly's Six Sacred Stones.
Why? First, Matthew Reilly. I have read one or two of his books before. His books are insane, literally. They are lightening fast paced, completely unbelievable, action packed, and ridiculous. To give you an idea of what I mean, in one book I read a long time ago, there was a point in the story where the main character was underground next to a harrier jet (also underground for some reason), chained to a nuclear weapon, surrounded by corrupt Marines, being attacked by Nazis while psychotic monkeys escape their nearby cages, the area is beginning to flood and prisoners infected with a racist, engineered virus are running amok. Get the idea? Crazy books. I think Reilly fulfills the "easy reading" and "thriller" part of my criteria. The book is set all over the world but mostly in jungle-like settings like China and the Congo but also places like Egypt, England, Zanzibar and Ethiopia. I guess they have to get the six sacred stones into the same place or the world ends or something like that.
I look forward to reading it. I will feel a little bit like I am cheating on Jack Reacher though. I am on book 5 of a 14 book series. I will return, Jack!

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