I took last week off — and while I didn’t go to Paris this year, tant pis, c’est trop cher, I must say, I highly reccommend the vacation-at-home. I slept late every day, often with both dogs snoring away in a big snuggly pile in my bed. I got some writing done, and got back on top of the memoir, which had been woefully neglected. I made a little progress on the Secret Life Change — a project that seems to be moving in a two steps forward one step back sort of fashion. And I got some real reading done for the first time since I can’t remember when … so, a little reading roundup:
I haven’t read a novel in ages that I enjoyed as much as Heir to the Glimmering World. Wonderful sentences, interesting and odd characters — truly a world of its own, which is one of the things I seek out in a novel — to enter a world I don’t already know.
Rebecca Solnit is one of those writers I’ve been aware of for a while but whose work I didn’t really know — one of those writers who you sense out there in your peripheral vision, and who sometimes just burst into the foreground of one’s reading life. I loved A Field Guide to Getting Lost — it’s one of those collections of essays that seem to loop around in big, interesting, intellectual circles. Exactly the kind of book one needs when your own book has been sitting in the corner going feral — fierce and interesting and full of inspirationally gorgeous sentences.
I read Susan Brind Morrow’s The Name of Things when it first came out several years ago, but it’s one’ of those books that is so interesting and odd that rereading is as much a pleasure as first reading. And so imagine my delight when I discovered that she has a new book out, Wolves and Honey : A Hidden History of the Natural World. It too was fantastic — the kind of book I want to own, because it’s so rich, so multivalent that each re-reading opens up new levels of meaning.
And then finally, my dearest friend Debra returned from her annual summer on an island off of Victoria BC and told me about a book that’s the talk of Canada. Patrick Lane is a widely-published poet who writes about his return to the world in What the Stones Remember : A Life Rediscovered. It’s a book I’ve only just begun reading, but again, lovely lovely sentences (the man’s a poet, after all) and the sort of associative looping style that I particularly enjoy.
So there, a word of encouragement for anyone who has vacation time, and who likes to stay home — the vacation-at-home was a huge success. Although there are still any number of projects I need to get to, after a week of being free from the electronic leash that shackles me to my desk most days, I feel like I can actually think again. Reading, writing, some puttering in the garden, a little socializing, and surviving another in what will be a long line of anniversaries of Patrick’s Very Bad Day all leave me at the end of my vacation feeling rested and grateful.