“A Hologram for the King”

Despite all the hoopla about outdoor activities centered around water, serious book slaves know that the purpose of a summer vacation is reading.

This week, the Magnificent Nose ran a series of summer book reviews that asked writers to think about where they were and what they were doing when they read the book.

Here’s my contribution, a review of Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King, which I read while on vacation in Cape Cod last week. It begins:

I select my vacation books before embarking the way other people pack their outfits: What activities will I be doing, and for how much of the time? What mood will I be in, and what books will suit it? How do I hope to feel while I’m away? And do I have enough room in my suitcase?

But this year’s vacation book, Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King, practically fell into my hands at the Brown University Bookstore in Providence, Rhode Island. We’d stopped in Providence on our way up to Cape Cod so that my husband and brother-in-law could show their dad, my kids, and me their favorite college haunts, and the Brown bookstore naturally made the cut.

It isn’t often that I get antsy in a bookstore, but Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum had already won the honor of being my summer vacation book, and I was eager to get to the Cape. Still, others in the group wanted to browse, so I found a literary fiction display and picked up A Hologram for the King. Five minutes later, I was at the cash register without having looked at a single other novel. Eggers’ four-page first chapter hooked me with an honest, troubled character in desperate straits, hoping for one last chance to redress his many past mistakes.                             Read more

About Julie Goldberg

Julie Goldberg has lived a life entirely too entangled with books. She is a school librarian, former English teacher, compulsive reader, occasional jazz singer and the author of Lily in the Light of Halfmoon. You can email her at perfectwhole@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter @juliegoldberg.
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