I used to work with a woman from New Zealand, and as we were getting ready to leave the office on a Friday before Memorial Day weekend, she asked me, “Is it right to say ‘Have a happy Memorial Day?’ It’s sort of your Remembrance Day, right? So it really shouldn’t be ‘happy’–but it is a holiday weekend, so what do you say to people?”
I agreed that it wasn’t really right to wish someone a “happy” Memorial Day weekend (though I suspected there would be far more Americans observing the day with barbecues and pool parties, than with trips to decorate the graves of veterans), and suggested she wish them a “good weekend” or a “good holiday.”
That being said, I’ve got quite a happy one in store this year. I came home tonight to find four (4!) packages in the mail, and in them? The makings of an excellent three-day weekend:
— A DVD of Under the Tuscan Sun. I have an itch for Italy, because friends of mine just spent a week in a charming villa in Positano, sent pictures, and tortured me with phone calls that began, for example, “We’re sitting here on the balcony, having a drink and watching the moonlight on the Mediterranean, and thought we’d call and say hello.” I genuninely don’t remember the last time I felt so physically sick with envy. (Hi Bearby! How’s life back in Old Blighty? Lost your tan yet?)
—Two Frances Mayes books, Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany. Because I always like to go to the source material. And yes, I know the UtTS, the Book, is quite different from UtTS, the Movie. That’s quite all right–romantic fictions are all very well, but I like to get into the grit of the reality behind them. Besides, I love memoirs.
–Four Laurie King novels featuring Mary Russell, a new companion to Sherlock Holmes–shocking concept, I know, but I’m intrigued by these books. A work-friend of mine asked me to make her a list of the best light novels I’ve read recently, to guide her reading on maternity leave. She responded to my list with a recommendation of King’s work, particularly the Mary Russell books, in which Sherlock Holmes takes on the clever (and doubtless, beautiful) heroine as his new, more competent Watson…and more, I’m given to understand. I’m a great fan of Sherlock Holmes, but not a purist, so I’m willing to give these books a chance. Perhaps it’s just the romantic in me–I always had half a notion that if the right sexy, brainy dame (ahem, ME) came along, ol’ Sherlock might give up his bachelor ways at last. I’ll let you know how they go.
–And finally, saving the greatest for last, my precious First/First of the Orson Welles biography, vol. 2, has at last made it a third of the way ’round the globe and to my door. Huzzah! (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to use the “h” word, apologies to any recovering RenFesties out there!) I can hardly wait to get into it; I was planning to re-read volume one first, but now I don’t know. I don’t feel like doing things ‘properly’, I feel like tearing right into the fresh, tasty book and gobbling it right up!
They’re calling for temps in the 60s and rain, rain, rain all weekend. I’m getting out the good china, setting a proper tea table, and settling in to read the days away. I wish you all a very good holiday weekend, and hope you are able to devote some portion of it to reading something that thrills and nourishes you.