Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Unhealthy waters?

Back to reading academic stuff alongside the novels after a two week break. I spent yesterday afternoon reading a draft of the opening chapter of a book on water, health and place written by a colleague, Ronan Foley. The book focuses on the symbolic meanings and material interaction with the healing powers of water, and what in the literature is called therapeutic landscapes – places that lead to well-being – and in particular spas, bath-houses, springs, holy wells, and seaside resorts. Looks like its going to be a good one when its published next year.

Researching this kind of thing seems like a good gig to me as the prime way to find about spas is to spend time in them and he’s been tramping off all over world to experience spas in different places. I also have a colleague in the UK who researches alternative therapies which means she has to spend two weeks each year in a secluded Spanish villa doing yoga and getting massages and so on at the tax payer’s expense. Does she enjoy her research! Perhaps I need to change focus to exclusive, boutique hotels in exotic places, but I digress.

What this got me thinking about is crime novels set in places with supposed healing waters but which are decidedly unhealthy for the guests. I thought I’d give him a reading list so he can balance all this 'water is good for you' shtick. Any suggestions?

Talking of water, I picked up The Shape of Water by Andrea Camirelli last week so expect a post on that at some point soon.

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