I love Jonathan Raban’s essays. And Coasting was pleasant, following Raban as he sailed the slow way through the British Isles. Like a morning breeze, Passage to Juneau carried me along for a while too, but eventually momentum gave out and I got bored – becalmed between pages. It joined my uncompleted books list.
Something similar is occurring with Arabia. Raban is insightful and his writing as elegant as always, but nothing much happens. This ought to be ok: I don’t need my travel books to be packed with adventure but, like an empty desert view, Arabia contains just a bit too much nothing much.
I realised this a week or so ago when I found myself seeking diversion, picking up an public policy textbook and starting to read up on the economic history of Sweden.