Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Books We Carry

I am on my way to Brighton, England for a week to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th, and then to Belgium to eat chocolate and drink beer for another week. Packing for England is always a dilemma. It could be hot. It could be cold. It will likely rain. But the most difficult decision is which books to bring. I need to write three syllabi for a new teaching job (don’t worry, I’m not leaving Hamline—this is just extra) before we get back so there are all the writing books I must bring. Then there are books I will need to reread to see if I want to have my students study them (thank god for Hamline’s required and recommended bibliography). Then there’s my own novel, which my editor wants to see in a new draft when she gets back from vacation in early September, so I need to bring my research books. (Yes, even fiction can require research reading). The current research book I have is The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson (my character does a long-distance walk.)

And then there’s pleasure. Remember that? Yesterday I was given three books-for-pleasure. The Hunger Games (I haven’t read it yet, as I tend to put off buzz books until the buzz dies down—I may be able to handle it now), The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, by David Mitchell, and a collection of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes, by one of my favorite writers, Haruki Murakami. Of course, I have already read Brighton Rock by Grahame Greene.

What we take with us on vacation can be quite revealing, not to mention quite heavy. I have a full suitcase. I wonder if, like Liza revealed a few blogs back, I need to break down and get myself an e-reader. I am quite smitten with the Ipad—though I think mainly because of its cool Mac packaging.

I shall try to add a blog or two while overseas, but if not you’ll know I’m lost in books, or perhaps in Belgium!


  1. What is this pleasure reading of which you speak?

  2. "Lost in Belgium" sounds perfect. Have a glass of Belgian beer for me. And yes, the e-reader would solve some problems, though not everything is available that way. The I-pad doesn't fit in a small purse but it is certainly elegant. Have fun!

  3. Anne,
    Pleasure: the broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. ...

  4. Murakami is one of my favorites too. And Kawabata and Ishigiro. That all sounds wonderful and deserved R and R. K

  5. Hope you didn't start Hunger Games in Belgium, without ready access to the other two books - I snarfed them down nonstop, in a kind of dystopian trance. Left my purse in the Boston airport because I was so engrossed in HG. (Khalid, the Boston security guy who is my new best friend, Fedexed it back to me.) Begged cash from my husband and ran right out to buy #2 and of course Mockingjay. What exactly is so riveting about them?