I’ve always loved books and had a bit of a saucy love affair with reading, but being on the road has put this into overdrive, and I feel like I’m embarking on a new relationship every few days.
Some are amazing, like Paul Auster‘s ‘New York Trilogy’ (which went around and around in my head for days after finishing it, and still has me thinking “wait, so was he actually THAT guy all along?”) and ‘Timbuktu’ (written from the perspective of a dog – A DOG!!!), and Jennifer Egan‘s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ (funny and sad and intense and kooky and so crafty and twisty…).
Some are, well, not so amazing… Some have been down-right disappointing… I’m looking at you, ‘Harbour’ by John Ajvide Lindqvist (yes – he of ‘Let the Right One In’ and ‘Handling the Undead’ genius – I flippin’ LOVED these books…). You are by no means a small book – you are, in fact, the size and weight of a brick. And I carted you all the way to Sweden so I could read you in your hometown, and what did you do? You were a total fizzer. You made me want to throw you across the room. You made me want to give up then and there. You made me want to leave you behind and sneak off in the middle of the night, no phone number, no polite chit-chat. But I persevered, and then Rich got in on the act too, and we were both in agreement that the best place for you was on a bookshelf in Dubrovnik.
Some have crept under my skin and kept me awake at night, like ‘Blindness’ by Jose Saramago. I’m about 60 pages away from the end, and it’s so creepy and yuck and violent and thought-provoking and… incredible… I’m usually not one to cry in books, but this had me sobbing like a wee bairn on the plane yesterday to San Jose. And I keep thinking “What if?”… Nightmarish and brilliant and, well, I should probably finish it before I rave on even more about it, lest it end with “… and it was alllllll just a dream.”
I’ve been saving two books that I’ve been dying to read for yonks for this leg of the trip (which I like to refer to as ‘The Adventure and Reading Leg’).I read about ‘The Happiness Project’ on Meet Me At Mikes a wee while ago; I am, for the most part, a happy lady and an easy person and a pretty go-with-the-flow kinda gal. But between you and me, I feel like I am getting a bit snippier as I get older. A bit narky about silly things. A bit complainy about things that don’t really bear complaining about. I know we all get a bit like that, but I’m hoping to stop sweating the small stuff so much and, like Jay Z once proclaimed, ‘git… that… dirt off yo shoulders…’ (I don’t have dirty shoulders – I believe it’s a ‘rap’ reference to ‘lightening up’. I’ll cross-check that with a quick google search/ask Rich**).
I’m not sure if I told you this yet, but when we were at Piebird in Canada, I turned vegematarian. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while – kinda due to gut issues (TMI? Hope not…) but mostly due to a bit of inner turmoil I’ve been feeling lately about, well, animals. I feel like I can no longer really justify swooning over cute pics of baby pigs in gumboots and then get stuck into a pork chop. Or scratch a goat on the nose, and follow it up with an Indian goat curry. Or walk into a barn full of cows, bopping their heads up against the bars of their pens, looking at me with their big cow eyes, and then go to a restaurant and enjoy a medium rare steak. I’m not gonna get all ‘Meat is Murder, yo’ but it’s something I feel like I need to be way more aware of, and I think ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer is a good start.
I’ve got a few more books to go after these ones too, then I’m at the mercy of hostel bookshelves and street-side markets (Da Vinci Code for a dollar, guys? – that’s a joke, BTW… I’m hoping that, karmically speaking, the books I’ve read and loved and left along the way will be paid back to us (except for that whole ‘Harbour’ incident – hopefully that has stayed exactly where we left it) – fingers crossed.
O – if you’ve got any suggestions for other books I should seek out, please please please add a comment!
** According to Urban Dictionary, ‘brush your shoulders off’ is a term for ‘trying to forget’ or ‘forgotten’. ‘The Brush’ can also be used in any occasion where you feel ‘it aint no thing’. Zing!