August is the traditional big Smithereens shutdown, as we usually leave Paris for our annual big foreign holidays, completely unplugged from the outside world (no computer, no internet connection, no mobile phone, no nothing… but don’t worry we’re not heading for a monk’s cell or a desert island!). The destination this year will be the Czech Republic. We’ll be avoiding Prag’s tourist  throngs for the hopefully quieter countryside and mountainside. We will rent out holiday homes and see how Czech we can be for a few weeks.

But what about books?

As every year, I’m already wondering about the books to take with me (as our luggage is definitely limited, and the experience shows that we always manage to come back with *way* more books than when we departed). Kafka would be an obvious choice, but it’s not really a summer read to me. Some Milan Kundera? Mmh, that’s about the extent of my knowledge of Czech writers, but I’m not sure I want to go local that much.

I browsed my office library and I fell instead for the Wild west. Pretty unexpected isn’t it? Maybe it’s my brain way of screaming “I want to be as far away as possible” (just in case you want to know, I’m experiencing a big post-M&A meltdown integration process)? My office library is so unmethodical in its purchasing choices that there are as many bad as good surprises. So I was nicely surprised to see they had one novel by Louise Erdrich: The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001). For quite a long time I have mixed Louise Erdrich with Louise Lambrichs, which in retrospect is quite funny. I have read one book by Lambrichs, warmly recommended by Litlove, so now I owe Erdrich a serious try.

I had already this rather hefty book in hand when another title seemed suddenly to cry out for me: One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. The volunteer librarian spoke highly of it, but I’m not quite sure. My experience with westerns is limited to… hum, does the Little House in the Prairie count?

Reader, what say you? Should I venture into the Wild West with Erdrich and Fergus or stick to a European, possibly Czech travel? Do you try to find books that are related to your holidays destination or do you look for total exoticism?

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