By the end of a good day at the campground the kids are exhausted and the grown-ups can gather around a campfire under a starlit sky. Heaven. Daytime's little breezes and noises die down in the darkness, and the night-bug chorus harmonizes with the sputter and crackle of burning logs.
Eventually, usually before midnight, those gathered around the fire stretch and yawn dramatically. Cloth chairs get stowed; trash goes into the embers; the bottles and cans are tossed into the bin for recycling.
"Whew, I'm beat. See you in the morning," is the parting consensus.
If I'm not too awfully tired, this is the time when I reach for whatever novel I'm reading at the time. I've got a big iron shepherd's crook I can stick in the ground next to my favorite chair. It holds the gas Coleman lantern at just the right height above my right shoulder.
Then I find the page where I left off, settle into my comfy canvas chair, and spend a solitary half hour escaping even farther from daily life into someone else's world. Beside me the lantern hisses softly. By now the campfire is a pulsing blend of orange and gray, with only an occasional quiet crackle. Surrounding campsites are silent and mostly dark. Makes it very easy to disappear into a well-written story for a while.
For me, that's the perfect ending to a good day. I'd never head for the campground without a good book from one of my favorite authors. Here's a review of the novel I just finished reading yesterday.
Book reviews: The Hard Way, by Lee Child
There's a line in Lee Child's tenth Jack Reacher novel, "The Hard Way," that sums things up perfectly:
"Reacher, alone in the dark. Armed and dangerous. Invincible" [page 420]
Former US Army MP Major Jack Reacher has been wandering among us for eleven years now, since "The Killing Floor" from 1997. Lee Child's debut novel and first in this series, earned both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel.
The man travels light:
"...Reacher had long ago quit carrying things he didn't need. There was nothing in his pockets except paper money and an expired passport and an ATM card and a clip-together toothbrush. There was nothing waiting for him anywhere else, either..."
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How about you? Do you have a favorite novel you'd like to share? What do you like to do at the end of a long day camping? Drop me a line via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.