There was a great little piece on The Millions yesterday disputing the popular notion that "vacation reads" should be low-impact books that don't overtax your lazy, delicate brain.

This notion is why I always flail a bit when asked for vacation-read suggestions (before inevitably recommending Carter Beats the Devil): If I know I'm going to have extensive, uninterrupted time to read—and particularly if I'm going to be relying on a book to keep me company—I want something heavy, something that's going to demand and reward my full attention.

And so I read 100 Years of Solitude on a beach, Flannery O'Connor and Henry James on a train. On my last big vacation I got hooked on Kate Atkinson after coming across Case Histories in a bookstore, and it was kind of the worst—she's so great, but her books go by so so quickly, which to my mind makes them terrible vacation reads.

Anyway, this writer at the Millions frames her piece around a book by local writer Paul Collins:

I was an author events coordinator in Boston at the time, and we had just hosted Paul Collins. Of the several dozen author events I worked during my years there, his remains my favorite. His 40-minute talk was warm, engaging, informative, surprising, funny, inspiring, and delivered without notes. Every person in attendance, a tragically small number, purchased every one of his books.

Collins is one of those local authors I've long meant to read, but somehow never gotten around to. I've got a trip to Denver coming up....