Into thin air by
(15 Stories)

Prompted By Beach Reads

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My choices for reading on vacation or in the summer used to be whatever was next on my pile of books to read. Once in France I enjoyed reading A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul. Another time in Switzerland I read The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. Both were good books but I did feel they were incongruous for my locations. Still, I continued the pattern until one trip when I spent a day in Death Valley, followed by a day by the pool at a hotel in Las Vegas reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Reading about a disastrous climbing expedition on Mt. Everest in that setting definitely blew through any possible sense of congruity.

Onward to acid and heat



Since then I have tried to select books that match at least somewhat my setting or activities. Among my favorites as vacation reading are A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, The Outermost House by Henry Beston, nature books, or books set in the locale I am visiting.

In recent years I have become interested in Farm to Table food gathering, cooking, and preserving. I am gradually building my skills towards my ultimate goal of picking the fresh items from our garden and making simple and wonderful meals from my creative knowledge and abilities. Although I do pretty well, I am not yet at the level I aspire to. My latest reading towards this goal is Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. I knew it would be tough because I am on a low salt diet but the introduction did say you could use less salt if you do it right. Later enthusiastic directions for cooking pasta called for handfuls of salt! So much for that… It took me a while to venture into fat but that section seemed more helpful. Onward to acid and heat when I dare… before this summer’s crops are over…



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Characterizations: been there


  1. Suzy says:

    Jean, I like your incongruous reading choices, followed by your attempts to read books that more nearly match your settings or activities. (Glad that Into Thin Air doesn’t fall into the latter category!) Good luck with your cooking adventures in Salt Fat Acid Heat. I hope you will report back later. Maybe we should reprise the Cooking prompt we did a few years ago.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    Matching a book to your setting is a great idea, although it requires some forethought. Wish I had read Next Year in Havana when I was there. Usually, I’m in the middle of something when I take off for a vacation. Good luck with your cooking project!

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    I agree with the above comments about matching books to locale. I heard Nosrat interviewed on NPR recently. Most interesting person and philosophy. Go get ’em.

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