What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

September 6, 2010

Travels With the Gilded Fly

I don't want to say I agonized over what my creative project for my book should be, but I did give it some serious thought. An early contender was making Minnie's infamous pie (minus the surprise ingredient) from "The Help." But that seemed too complicated and particularly unappealing given the July heat. I debated about getting in a bar fight to honor "Lonesome Dove" but given my dislike of pain and poor hand-eye coordination, that seemed a bad fit as well. But during a fit of photomania in Scotland (seriously, after the fifteenth picture of an old building I had to ask myself what was wrong), I thought that I could honor the transportive nature of books and make my photos semi-interesting by including the library book I had brought along, "The Curse of the Gilded Fly."

Admittedly, this is a cheap aping of the "Flat Stanley" project every first-grade class does, but I liked the idea of giving a seldom checked out library book a whirlwind vacation. Who knows, maybe "Toy Story 3" affected me more than I realized. In any case, here is "The Curse of the Gilded Fly" in all her renewed-online glory, visiting some of Edinburgh's famous landmarks, literary and otherwise (apologies to Kenneth Grahame’s birthplace, Arthur Conan Doyle’s tutor’s home, and the Sir Walter Scott Tower. I couldn’t do everything).

COTGF with Edinburgh's mascot of unswerving devotion, Greyfriar's Bobby. Just think how quickly the fourteen years would have passed if the little dog had had a book by his side.

I’m no expert in clinical depression, but maybe Robert Fergusson wouldn't have led such a sad life if he had read more lighthearted mysteries.

COTGF paying respects to Clarinda, the love of Robert Burns' life.

Taking in the views on top of Arthur's Seat

Stopping by the Elephant House, the coffee shop where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the first chapters of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone." There is another coffee shop a few blocks over that weakly contends they, too, were a location for Rowling's writing. I like to imagine area coffee shops are now in a war to woo aspiring fantasy young adult novelists in the hopes of reaping future tourism benefits.

What's COTGF doing here? Oh, just being read by David Mitchell, that's all. I'm not saying Mitchell's life was changed by this moment, but don't be surprised if his follow-up to "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" is a return to the Golden Age of Mystery. (Sidenote: If you go hear David Mitchell do a reading and then get your book signed, he is a surprisingly good sport about taking a picture with a library book).

1 comment:

  1. This is precisely why I wish libraries had not gone digital: how else can you tell if a book has been stuck on the stacks and has not seen the light of day for a decade or three if there is no check out card in the back? One afternoon while I was stuck at the library to finish some research, I procrastinated by searching for a book that had sat, unchecked, for more than 30 years. I found quite a few in the poetry section...