A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
by Ticky Dogge-Hare
Hello. Gosh, I never know how to start these things. Do you read on holiday? I do, I read absolutely loads, and I suppose that’s why the Foxes asked me back to talk about the things I read on my recent holiday in lovely South America. Actually, this is just a selection, because my travel agent booked me on this ridiculously long series of flights, so I ended up reading four whole books just on the way out there. Airport lounges are such a colossal bore, and there’s only so much free cheese even I can eat, so I just read constantly.
(The great thing is that I have an e-reader now — makes your hand luggage so much lighter and leaves room for even more essentials and Duty Free stuff — because I always used to travel with a ton of paperbacks in my bag, those massive airport ones, and I was terrified I’d have to stop reading on planes because I used to get these awful shoulder pains and when I went to the doctor, he told me that if I kept it up my spine would go all squiffy. Well, he didn’t say it exactly like that. But then e-readers happened and now I have one and it’s super. Anyway, this means that you can get all these books for your e-reader.)
I think that wherever you travel, it’s very important to remind yourself of the local culture. So I started off by re-reading an absolute classic: Jilly Cooper’s Polo. Actually, between you and I, I think the divine Jilly is a bit beastly about the Argentines, but the whole thing is still uproariously funny and scandalous and really, there aren’t any actual Argentine polo players to look at in Frankfurt airport, not unless you’re really lucky.
Of course, another great thing about Jilly’s books is that they’re terrifically long, so Polo actually got me through Madrid airport as well and some way out over the Atlantic. By that time the cabin lights were out and people were trying to sleep. I can never sleep on planes, even with one of Mummy’s pills. So I thought that perhaps I should read something a little quieter, as I always want to shriek with laughter when I read Jilly and the best I could do was restrain myself to snorting in an unladylike fashion, and the stewardess had already told me off three times. I thought that was what the little earplugs were for, myself. But anyway, I decided to read Sophie Kinsella’s latest, I’ve Got Your Number, and I didn’t regret it for one moment. It’s an absolutely gorgeous love story, and of course her heroine is this terribly sweet, mousy creature who’s always messing things up, but she does have a bit of a backbone at times, so the story doesn’t have quite that cringeworthy edge some of Kinsella’s other stuff does. And as for the hero, well, I fell head over heels in love with the man a short way in so, really, enough said. Definitely one to read.
By the time I had finished that one and tried in vain to repair my mascara and freshened up — well, you never know who you’ll see at an airport — we were about to descend into Lima, where I had a six hour stopover. (Really, I ought to drop that travel agent.) By this point I was feeling decidedly weary, so I thought I would read something to pep me up a bit. Oh, I know, I thought, I’ll read that new one by Caitlin Moran (How to be a Woman). I’d heard it was terrifically good and on the whole, you know, it really is. In fact, some of it is actually quite brilliant. But, well, did you ever have one of those friends: you know, the nice outgoing one who gets a couple of drinks under her belt and becomes AWFULLY LOUD AND SHOUTY? Well, Caitlin Moran is like that friend, but it’s ALL the BLOODY sodding TIME. And she likes to order you about. I for one AM a feminist, obviously, but I am NOT going to stand on a chair, in Lima airport of all places, and start shouting just to prove it to you, Caitlin darling. Sorry!
Anyway, while How to be a Woman made my time at Lima pass quite quickly, it did wear me out even more. So I decided to spend the final leg of my journey reading A Walk in the Park, the new one by Jill Mansell, who is utterly reliable and always comes up trumps. And it was just what I expected: dramatic enough to be interesting, but you know everything’s going to turn out fine in the end, and that’s rather lovely. And then by the time I’d finished that — at the baggage carousel waiting for all my stuff — my driver was waiting for me, and I was all ready to go out into my favourite city in the world, admittedly looking a little battered with panda eyes and slightly mad hair, but feeling like I’d already had a sort of holiday. That sounds cheesy, doesn’t it, but hopefully you see what I mean. Never was good at those metaphor things, or is that a simile? I do wish I’d paid attention in English. Anyway, darlings, ciao; and thank you, lovely Bookfoxes, for the invitation!
The Hon. Ticky Dogge-Hare lives in Bath and doesn’t really do anything. Her favourite adjective seems to be “lovely.”