I didn't pack it because I hate it. As so often happens these days, the powers-that-be added so many new bells and whistles that it's now difficult for a klutz like me to use the device.
"Keep It Simple, Stupid" never occurs to these guys. This past February, I took the Kindle -- loaded with David McCullouch's excellent John Adams -- on my South American cruise. I enjoyed the book but was ready to throw the Kindle overboard when it kept changing the setting for the last page I had read... which made it a chore to get back to that page again. Dog-earing pages in print books is so much easier.
I packed this paperback for the Norway cruise. I read most of the "Rabbit" books -- revered by critics -- decades ago, as they were published. But I gave up on this one a third of the way through. I was getting depressed reading about Rabbit, his family, his friends... and their lives of "quiet desperation." I can deal with novels about people like this if there's some humor to offset the gloom. I didn't find much humor here.
Because of my cruise, the title drew me to this book, and I loved it. Here are few of the kudos it's received:
- The Economist's top fiction title of the year
- the Financial Times' best book of the year
- the Guardian's best crime and thriller of the year
- Kirkus Reviews' best crime novel of the year
The Norwegian setting wasn't the only thing I could identify with. The protagonist is an 82-year-old man who may have dementia. The New York Times review summed it up well: "This charming debut has the brains of a literary novel and the body of a thriller.'' Highly recommended.
Since the weather forecast predicts several nice days next week, I'll ask my driver to take me down there. After touring the Butterfly Garden at my own slow pace -- taking notes on plants I might use -- I'll walk over to the Sculpture Garden, have lunch at its cafe, and cab home. I won't need a wheelchair.