I am far from home. My many, many books are in cartons, denied to me, being placed in storage. I have been surviving upon Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, and I am in love with Duchess Eliza, not to mention Daniel Waterhouse, the Shaftoe Brothers, Enoch Root, the crew of the Minerva, and not to forget Isaac Newton’s niece. Unfortunately Stephenson, with his erudition and world building and brilliance and interest in so many things, has spoiled me. I am at the epilogue of ‘The System of the World’, refusing to read on because I don’t want it to end. I pick up other books and drop them with a “Bleh”. About 15 years ago I gave up reading sf and fantasy altogether, because I was sick of the sameness, bored with the arbitrary decisions of writers, and turned to reading history and science and religion (not that I had never read those things in the past). I drifted back into fiction eventually, and even back into speculative fiction, but I have found myself again hovering more in the history and current affairs sections of book shops. Perhaps Stephenson has spoiled me for other writers and other books. Perhaps I just need a major palate cleanser to leave his baroque world sadly behind me. If only I had not already read all of the Aubrey-Maturin books, or if only James Ellroy would wind back the clock and write a decent noir door stopper. Now, this may not seem like much of an issue, but I face a 24 hour flight in the next few weeks, and I am terrified at the thought of facing it without a good, and good sized, book to consume. I need a new ‘Ghost Story’ or ‘Salem’s Lot’ or even ‘Lord of the Rings’. Perhaps I am asking a little too much? I can’t read ‘Game of Thrones’ because I am enjoying the TV series too much. I used to worry about sick children or career decisions, now I realise that I have a real problem on my hands. What to do, what to do…? Don’t laugh, this is serious!