I’m back from five days in Chicago (work trip) and I am so glad to be home.

Chicago is a fantastic place to visit, and once I recovered from the three days of jetlag from hell, I managed to have a great time. (Seriously, come on science, hurry up and invent the transporter!)

I’d recommend doing the architectural river cruise early on. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it much easier to connect with a foreign city if I know something about its history. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of concrete that looks a bit different from the concrete you usually get to stare at.

I’d also recommend getting a detailed guide of the city (which I forgot this time).

I had this grand plan of doing some writing in the evening or early morning in my gigantic hotel room, but I just couldn’t. When I wasn’t passed out from jetlag, there was too much going on over there. Apart from the activity, there was the noise of the loop train and the unrelenting cacophony of the construction work going on opposite my hotel room.

And I didn’t have cats. I need cats around when I write (although the hotel did offer us all a companion goldfish… ).

The worst thing of all? I only had one book with me, and it was horrid.


April reading challenge: book #4: Vernon God Little

I cannot describe how much I dislike this book. Ick.

The characters are all horrible people who live in a nasty town. The plot is weird. The voice of the main character (and narrator) is annoying and creepy. Nothing about it fosters feelings of sympathy. In short, why, for the love of God, did this book win the Booker Prize?

I can’t say I’ve read any of the other short or long listed books for 2003, but from their reputation alone I’d say that at least two of them could have been stronger contenders for the prize:

  • Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

A huge deal is made about The Booker Prize, but when you come down to it, the Booker is awarded by a panel of judges who are no different from any other reader. Yes, they may have an expertise in fiction writing, but that doesn’t make them arbiters of taste.

I’ve started the fifth book, Oscar and Lucinda, which I’m finding much better, but I’m probably not going to finish it in a few days. I brought a truly horrible cold back with me from Chicago which is making reading a bit of a trial, and I’m really missing genre fiction!