Beth Raymer is the author of Lay the Favorite, a memoir about her time as a cocktail waitress who becomes involved with a group of geeky fiftyish men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage. The book has been made into a major motion picture directed by Stephen Frears and starring Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, andRebecca Hall. It's premiering this month at the Sundance Festival. Read more >
I had been back nearly forty-eight hours before I realized what was wrong with me. The kids across the street were washing down their boat and the salt water taste reached my mouth like taffy. My eyes flew fully open for the first time since my return. The beach! I was astounded by my own stupidity. Why aren't we at the beach?
My skin and hair had been dried to a crackly frazzle by the low humidity, the heated rooms and unaccustomed water we'd encountered while traveling. Many nights I'd awoken to find a small furry animal had crawled into my open mouth and died while I slept. No, it was my tongue, completely dried out like a large prune. I'd crawl out of bed, trying not to wake the three others in the room, to seek a drink of water. An entire glass went down my throat and I'd feel no less thirsty. Giving it up for hopeless, I'd slink back under my covers and try to get warm again, to fall back to sleep.
It was the land of snow so dry it barely packed into a snowball, much less the body of a snowman. As if every drop of water in the air was required to form those millions of flakes, no moisture remained available.
But now that I was home, I should have realized why I felt so flat, depleted, drained like a tube of sunscreen that finally gives no more. I needed the beach, the water, the gentle waves capped with foam. She called to me, my ocean, hitching a ride on the neighbor's boat across the street to call me to her. She was waiting impatiently as she always did, to welcome me home.
After admiring the Brandenburger Gate, leave the tourist destinations behind for Prenzlauer Berg, where the multicultural locals meet in funky cafes, art galleries and independent bookstores. Linger in the open air markets, the Berlin equivalent of Greenwich Village in New York City.
Just a few trolley stops from our relatives in former East Berlin, its off-the-beaten-path location saved it from the major bombing which flattened much of the city during World War II, allowing buildings to survive although bullet holes can be found in their facades.
Shoppers looking for an international adventure story for nine to fourteen-year-olds may purchase Finn's Ship at the Saint George's English Bookshop. The owner Paul opened the well-stocked store on Woerther Str. after relocating from London.
For picture books from around the world, you must visit Mundo Azul.