Seriously, folks, it’s starting to smell like holidays are around the corner.

First of all, Paris has emptied itself of its grumpy inhabitants. We have left the city keys to tourists while bakers, butchers, cheese sellers, newspapers stands, and even concierge (caretakers) have closed shop for the month. People actually smile in the métro (a sure sign that something’s amiss or that the person is not a local) and are able to sit down (perhaps that would explain the smile). High time for the Smithereens family to pack and leave! (or else we might get used to the smiling and sitting thing…)

Piles of clean clothes, toiletries, notebooks, are gathered in every corner of our flat, waiting to be put in bags (or put away, as we pare down to basics) and sticky notes galore for all the things we can’t forget. Each year for our holidays, I have this little tradition of mine to buy a brand new chic soap from Roger & Gallet in its little box and dainty folded paper. So even if we are roughing it or at least keeping it simple, I have a practical bit of perfumed luxury to wash away the day (and the dirt).

But at least one thing isn’t ready yet: the pile of books. It’s so hard to choose! My plan for this year was to read Jim Fergus and Louise Erdrich, but they are large and heavy so they will stay home for the moment. I’ve ordered a few mysteries through Bookmooch in old, battered paperbacks, so that I’ll abandon them in our rented flats along the way (except if they are so exceptional that I won’t be able to part with them):

  • Sarah Caudwell, The Sirens Sang of Murder (because I’d remember Emily, Dorothy and others have praised this series of mysteries for being a lot of fun)
  • Amy Tan, The Kitchen God’s Wife (I haven’t read Amy Tan in ages, and I was keen on some Chinese-American literature)
  • Faye Kellerman, Prayers for the Dead, another Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus novel after my first dip into the series
  • Amanda Cross, Sweet Death, Kind Death (discovered in the collection A woman’s eye)
  • Liza Cody, Dupe (same)

At the same time, I’m gearing up to write a few words about all the books I’ve finished and to finish the awesome thriller I’m reading these days. Still, there will be many an unfinished book cluttering my nightstand for one month:

  • David Mitchell, Ghostwritten (I haven’t given up totally, but it’s really not my cup of tea)
  • Anonyma, A Woman in Berlin (rough read, in German, ugh)
  • Patti Digh, Life is a verb (not supposed to be read in one setting)
  • Akiko Itoyama, Waiting in the Offing (surprisingly sarcastic Japanese)
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, The little house in the prairie (part of my personal children favorite re-reading list)
  • Philip Kerr, One from the other

The latter is so much fun that I hesitate between reading as fast as possible and taking my time to enjoy every line of this witty hardboiled gumshoe thriller set in post-WW2 Germany à la Marlowe.