So what about the books I took with me?
Carefully chosen, nay anguished over in the build up because I panic if I go too far with less than four books with me let alone half way around the world.
I know airports sell books but what if nothing leapt off the shelf at me? Fat chance of that in any bookshop actually.
I had spent ages cogitating over what to read as I travelled and in the end two books got me most of the way across the Atlantic via Greenland, Labrador, Canada, Detroit and on to Houston.
This, by the way, seemed like a very long way round; had it been a London taxi I'd have been asking questions.
Cry of the Justice Bird by Jon Haylett alternating with The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori did me proud.
Then I arrived, the heat and the humidity hit me like a sack of spuds, my hair frizzed and suddenly holiday mode kicked in.Keeping my eyes open became a big challenge and instantly I wanted to read something local.Having boarded the ship at Galveston there was time to unboard it and walk into Galveston before we sailed, humming the song of course.
"Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin'..." then I couldn't remember any more words so that had to do.
This was really my one and only foray onto US soil for the whole trip and so I was lapping up the place, shopping already and of course looking for a bookshop and luckily I found two.
The first just second hand books and this was where I picked up twenty books, regretfully put eighteen back but came away with a copy of Eudora Welty's Losing Battles plus an autobiography by Eudora Welty One Writer's Beginnings. Years and years ago I saw a Melvyn Bragg South Bank Show on Eudora Welty, born in Jackson, Mississippi (Yeah I'm goin' to Jackson, isn't that another song?) and thanks to Bluestalking Reader I read The Ponder Heart last year and loved it, so more Eudora on the agenda for me.
Then I strolled around the corner and found a cool haven in the Galveston Bookshop because by this time frizzed hair had gone to lank and I was wilting just a little and sailing time was drawing near, and which way was the ship?
As I perused, strangely picking up and putting down the very same book on the Galveston hurricane that Susan Hill has mentioned over on her blog this week, I came across a pile of books on the counter.The bookseller was a man of few words, in fact the fewest words I met on my whole trip because as of one the American people were polite, warm and friendly and always happy to chat.
"Is this one good?" says I, possibly asking the obvious as it was clearly labelled Bookseller's Pick of the Week.
"Pardon" he said, obviously finding my English accent a bit of a shock on a sleepy Galveston Sunday afternoon.We keep our vowels tightly reined in I now see in comparison to the Texan accent and our table companions at dinner eventually sent us off fluent in exchange for some cockney rhyming slang. Apples and pears (= stairs) will be all over San Antonio by now.
"This one, is it good?" I annunciated clearly
"Yeyes" he replied.
I was hoping for a bit more background but it was probably his most stupid question of the day so I bought it anyway and it turned out to be the book of the holiday and a strange and unexpected choice and subject matter it was too, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.More on that soon.
And what about Possession by A.S.Byatt which had me hooked before I left? Well I can tell you it just didn't work in the Caribbean at all.