Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

Cinque Terre street detail_I’m bushed. Today will be a day of heavy eyelids, caffeinated beverages, and standing up on a regular basis to maintain consciousness. And it is so very worth it.


“You should read something fun!” My lady enjoined me. But all reading is fun! That book about medieval history was fascinating, though it added a two thousand year old dimension to my fear of the Republican Party. And that last book of travel-writing was very interesting, though admittedly the parts from the Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Ivory Coast were a tad depressing.


“No,” she specified. “Not history for your tour guide job, not travel writing for your travel writing, just something for fun. No other motive.”


That did sound appealing. My traditional just-for-fun books were fantasy though. Swords and spells and species. And those tend to run long. Like 3-10 books of 800-1200 pages. But it is winter, after all…


Cinque Terre_7761

Vernazza, last July

“Here. Read this.” She handed me the book she’d just finished. On the cover I recognized Vernazza. Arguably the most beautiful, and certainly the most photographed town in Italy’s Cinque Terre is not hard to spot. Uh-oh. Would that jeopardize the Not For Work rule? “Part of it takes place in the Cinque Terre, but that’s not really what it’s about, so you’re good.”


What kind of book was it, anyway? “It’s a love story.” She answered. Oh. Those are swell and all, but wouldn’t they be better if at least one of the characters wore a sword?


There was still a rather large segment of the book left when I got in bed to read last night. I might have chosen something else if I’d known that I’d be sending her a text at 1:57 AM saying “Jesus that’s a good book!”


She was right. It’s good to read something, just for fun.

Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

Vernazza, last July