Literary Travels: Lulu in Marrakech

I set a pretty aggressive goal on Goodreads.com for 2013 since I blew away my goals the last couple years. Unfortunately I might have been a little too aggressive–last time I checked in I’m 11 books behind reaching my goal by the end of the year.

Darn wedding planning is getting in the way of my reading.

I think I might be able to get back on track, however. I loaded up our Kindle with classics for our European adventure, and I usually get lots of reading done in airports and during flights.

I also usually read a couple of books a week around the holidays when I can finally take a couple of days off from life. So I’m saying there’s hope!

Another thing that put me behind is my book selections this year. I’m not off to a good start. I’ve picked a couple huge novels that weren’t great, and I had trouble getting through. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just stop a book because it’s no good. I always maintain some hope that it will get better. I can’t believe it would have gone to print otherwise.

Sometimes I’m right, but most of the time I’m wrong. Doesn’t matter … I still have to finish each and every one.

My most recent read is called Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson, better known for La Divorce (own it, haven’t read it).

I was really excited about this one because despite my best efforts, I often live in the future.

And for me, the not-so-distant future involves Morocco and the fiance and I wandering the markets and riding camels.

I’ve shared my vision with him, and I would say he’s about half on board.

The pragmatist in him cannot think about my 30th birthday, which is more than a year from now, when he’s currently having his first experience visiting Russia/Switzerland/France, returning for the down and dirty final months before the wedding, visiting Turkey/Romania/Italy/Croatia/Greece on our honeymoon and then picking our lives back up from whence they halted the day of our engagement.

I don’t blame him–in fact, he is the one who helps me come back to reality most of the time.

But a girl can dream, and I do have dreams of Morocco.

I thought this book would assuage my longing. It made it worse. The clash of cultures always interests me–the book, in my mind, overplayed these sentiments, but it’s hard to read anything about Marrakech without some mention of the city being geographically divided between the historic and the modern. The idea of worlds colliding creates intrigue, possibly a little danger, but also a lot of adventure.

The book itself was about an undercover CIA agent, Lulu, who is there on assignment. I was interested throughout–she is gullible and innocent, which directly combats the ongoing picture you hold of her in her role as agent, there were several developing sub-plots that kept me wondering where things were headed, but the ending didn’t pull it together for me.

Nothing was believable, nothing was tied off properly, and I when I read the last sentence, I snapped the book shut and let out a disappointed sigh. I had higher hopes.

It did make me want to look into Marrakech and Morocco more. I was looking over the tourism website the one night and liked them on facebook. How can I not love a city that renovated and restored the oldest building in its Medina to be a ‘Literary Cafe’ (called Dar Cherifa) where you can sit among cushions drinking tea and exploring different books, art works and more?

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but someday Marrakech and I are going to meet. Until then, I’ll just have to continue my literary travels throughout Morocco, and hope that one day I’ll be writing my own Marrakech adventure.

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