What Kevin Marc Fournier Packs for the Lake


Here’s the books in Kevin Marc Fournier’s duffel:

My favourite books to take to the lake are fat and musty old anthologies of mystery, adventure, horror or what-have-you, dug out of the back shelves of second-hand bookstores. The fatter, older and more obscure the authors, the better. It adds the mild thrill of a treasure hunt to the usual pleasures of light reading.

Some other books I’d consider ideal for the cottage include:

For adventure: John MacNab and the Dickson McCunn trilogy (Huntingtower, Castle Gay, and The House of the Four Winds) by John Buchan.

Forget Buchan’s better known and much inferior The 39 StepsJohn MacNab and Huntingtower are his best two books by a country mile.  They’re perfect daydreams of holiday adventure.

For mystery: the Maigret books by Georges Simenon

Maigrets are best read in bunches – take a dozen or so from the library down to the lake. (He wrote 75 of them in all, plus short stories – the ones from the ’30s and ’40s are generally the best.)  They’re all brief, immersive, and oddly soothing.  They’ll also make you feel better about how much booze you may be drinking on your vacation: I promise it will be less than the admirable Inspector drinks during an average work day.

For horror (and what-have-you): One Thousand and One Ghosts and Captain Pamphile by Alexandre Dumas

Everyone loves the Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo, and the Man in the Iron Mask, including me, but Dumas’ short novels will surprise you.  These are two of the best: a Decameron-style grouping of ghost stories, and the cheerfully ridiculous adventures of a smuggler of exotic animals.

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Kevin Marc Fournier

Kevin Marc Fournier is a Winnipeg writer and devotee of cottage life. His new novel, The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City, is better beach reading than it sounds. Honestly.