Nothing worse than a holiday where you run out of books to read and (gasp!) there are no bookshops nearby. I was reduced to the bookshelf at the holiday house and am now convinced that what you will inevitably find on such shelves are all the books other people bought to read on holiday and, discovering they are terrible and not worth reading, leave them behind for the next desperate reader. It's not often I give up on a book but I will if the main character is unlikeable. Such was the case with "Before You Sleep" by Linn Ullman. While I'm not averse to a character who feels compelled to seduce men she sets eyes on at weddings and in supermarkets, I do want to feel at least some sympathy for her. This girl was awful. So mean-spirited and mealy-mouthed. So I didn't care what happened to her. Bang! The book went back to the shelf.
Then I discovered that I had another book in my suitcase that I had forgotten about! "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. It had been on my pile, waiting to be read, for months. Now was the time! So far I am finding it very interesting and engaging, all the while taking note of her sentence constructions (sounds boring and anal but I'm sure other writers know what I mean).
Miss Snark did finally reach my entry for the Crapometer, and amazingly enough, I was asked for 750 words. So not only did I not get totally Snarked, but I have another chance at having my writing eviscerated by the inestimable MS. I think that blew all my other Xmas presents out of the water!
New Zealand was cool and changeable, and I managed to acquire a minimal tan, all the while feeling very un-PC, because having a tan now is considered foolhardy and silly, thanks to the hole in our ozone layer and the prevalence of skin cancer. I also managed to survive a boating accident, where a rock suddenly materialised in front of us too quickly to avoid. Boat suffered gouges in the hull (thank goodness we were aluminium, not fibreglass) and a bent propellor. We were able to head for home and reach it OK. I doubt I could have swum 6km back to the beach.
On the other hand, I did catch a few fish, including a glorious fish with spikes that one person said was a toad fish and another said was a puffer fish. Either way, it was fat and ugly. I also caught a schnapper, a cod, a pink maumau, a terakihi, a trevally and some leatherjackets, most of which went back in the water because they were too small. A veritable marine aquarium!
And best of all, I wrote. As most of my family now accept that I am a writer and I do get stuff published, they more or less left me to get on with it. Although the strange looks I received when I wasn't writing (but was gazing out to sea for long periods), and I explained that I was plotting ... well, I guess they all thought I should be typing!