For Travel Thursday today, I am pleased to welcome Jael McHenry, author of the fabulous The Kitchen Daughter. The Kitchen Daughter just came out this week. I loved it. My review is here. And, I was delighted to read about it in the new issue of O Magazine!! This book is going to be big!!
There are two things that make vacation luxurious: what you do with it, and what you don’t. One of my favorite places in the world is a grassy patch of earth on a bluff on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. I love it because it’s quiet and gorgeous, and because there is one perfect palm tree that arcs toward the horizon, across the blue-green bay and the bright blue sky. I love it because this particular patch of earth is part of a Four Seasons, and some extremely polite hotel employee will stop by every half-hour or so to offer you a pineapple skewer or a spritz of Evian, and you have exactly enough shade to keep you cool and enough sun to remind you that yes, you are in Hawaii, and yes, you are the luckiest person in the world.
Mostly I love it because of what I don’t do there. I don’t work or think or fuss or stress. I don’t worry about whether or not my book is getting good reviews or trying to figure out what the heck I could be doing to promote it. I don’t worry about bills or Twitter or global unrest or wrinkles. What do I do instead? I read. I really do nothing in that cabana chair but lie back into the shade with a book, knowing that my husband is in the next cabana chair over (because he always is; neither of us ever makes this trip alone) where he, too, is doing nothing but reading.
Okay, if it’s winter and the dolphins are in the bay, we will set down our books for one other reason: an activity we call “dolphin TV”, watching the spinner dolphins leap up out of the waves and catch the light, in ripples and ribbons and splashes, until they move on to do their cavorting elsewhere, and then we go back to our books.
It doesn’t matter what I read. It could be a sprawling historical novel about New York. It could be a heartrending memoir about infidelity. It could be Breaking Dawn. (Yes, last time I was on Lanai, it was totally Breaking Dawn.) The fact is, when I’m in that cabana chair on that patch of earth, all I want to do in the world is read, and in that one place, I always get my wish.
This is where my husband and I honeymooned, and it’s where we go when we have something to celebrate. We haven’t been back since The Kitchen Daughter came out, but I know exactly what I’m going to do the next time I’m there. There’s a little lending library next to the pool — a metal cart, really, nothing fancy — where I get my reading material. I’m going to slather on my sunblock, leave a brand-new copy of The Kitchen Daughter in the lending library, pick up the first book that catches my eye, and then I’m headed to my chair.
What are you reading and where are you going?