My vacation was too short.  I had so many plans, so many things to do and so many books to read.  All of which I didn’t do.

Choosing a books (or multiple books if you are me) for vacation is difficult to do well.  Though I normally eschew nonfiction for mind candy fiction (hence Mr. Hitchens was put on hold), my brain would just not cooperate this past week.  Nothing suited me.  The plain Jane book I was reading (The God of Animals) was dispensed with too quickly on Day One.  Day Two consisted of Jon Katz new book (Dog Days)  dependably pleasant as always but also too quickly gone.

So I was left to sullenly and contrarily perused my shelves, standing in amazement (again!) that I have read them all (seriously how does that happen?) and ultimately went to the store and bought The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: A Novel by Michael Chabon. But put it down; it was too Jewish for vacation (don’t ask me what that means, I don’t really know. I partially blame the aforementioned Mr. Hitchens however) and would likely to require some thought.   So I turned to Melissa Bank (The Wonder Spot), whose first book of stories left me cold, but her “new” novel was on sale for $5.  It too, turned out to be too Jewish.  What to do?

Fantasy – it was my only answer. 

But since one of my plans was to resurrect my fantasy story I’ve been writing for a while, I didn’t want to read anything that would influence it.  Moreover, my (unusual) desultory mood also required something I could put down in between house projects and letting the dog in and out of the house.  I was in a mood – I couldn’t commit.

I’m not a fan of short stories. Not at all.  But I can be persuaded to read them if I love the author.  Which explains why I had both The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Fragile Things in the house.  It also explains why I hadn’t read them yet (they both had dust on them, which probably says more about my housekeeping than anything).  Ms. Clarke and Mr. Gaimen are two of my very favorite authors.  And it sits well with me that they are friends too.  It made me feel less alone on my private vacation at home. 

They both understand the purpose of a good story –  Enjoyment.  Without being brainless or (a bigger sin) tedious, they weave beautiful threads of fantasy perfect for a quick settle in a lawnchair or while standing at the counter eating your ice cream.  Reading their stories made it easier for me to remember what summer is all about, before required summer reading in school or required summer working as an adult. 

They both go well with a glass of lemonade too.