In these times of gloom I’ve figured, just as I always do, that books might help. My guilt at the thought of buying more was much helped by the facts that:
1) I almost had to buy or borrow new ebooks, as I’ll be travelling through Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia for six weeks, and can’t possibly bring the amounts of paper books I’d read in this period of time with me unless I have a book-carrying travelling elephant with me (which I’m still considering, but I don’t know major airlines policy on checked-in pachyderms)
2) It’s ebooks, they don’t take any space
3) I’ll be spending hours in transit in airports, which I abhor (weirdly, for someone who can’t live with a “next travel” project at any time)
I bought or borrowed: (no order whatsoever, for a change)
- Under the Skin, by Michel Faber
Because I haven’t read anything by Faber in months, and I miss his writing.
- The day of the Triffids, by John Windham
This falls into both categories of “classics I’ve realized I haven’t read”, and “weird/creepy/disturbing literature I love to read”
- Compostelle, immortelle randonée by Jean-Christophe Rufin
This is a non-fiction book about Rufin’s walk to Compostelle, which is suposedly both funny and interesting (as a friend told me). Rufin worked for (and was one of the earliest members of) MSF, and is also a fantastic writer (his book “Asmara ou les causes perdues”, which I think has been translated into “Lost causes” is one of the most powerful books I’ve read), so I’m sure it’s going to be great. And will probably give me “trekking-along-the-Camino-de-Santiago”envy, but so be it, I have time in September after all.
- Glister, by John Burnside
Yet another one in the “creepy, weird literature”, and Burnside being a master of the genre, I think he won’t disappoint. I’ll report back.
Which I borrowed mainly because I could borrow it, and because it’s been compared to Harry Potter meets His dark materials, so I want to know why so much fuss is made about that particular books (expectations are high, as you might – rightfully – suppose)
- Stop what you’re doing and read this
Because I obey imperative book titles. Always. It’s a collection of essays about reading from writers including Zadie Smith, Tim parks, Mark Haddon. Reading about reading, though, would have read it even if its title was “Continue with your daily activities and watch TV tonight”
- Living, thinking, looking, by Siri Hustvedt.
This is a collection of essays about art, and creativity, and life, by Hustvedt, which I read ages ago, and loved. I’ve been discussing it with a friend who also loved it, and realied I didn’t remember it very well despite having loved it so much. So, here it comes again.
- Reader, I married him, by Tracy Chevalier
A collection of stories about Jane Eyre. You can’t have too much of Jane Eyre, as a principle, and I’m very much looking forward to it. This, like books about books and reading, is also a clear sign I needed some comforting when I was book browsing.
- The Glass Palace, by Amitav Ghosh
A family saga which takes place in Burma, so I took it to read it “on location”, realizing I’ve never read anything fictional about or set in Myanmar.
Consider this a rather fixed TBR for the next weeks, as I’ll have only those to read (well, I do go on a travel with my book-wormiest friend, so there’ll probably be her books too, and I always somehow stumble into bookshops even in the most secluded corners of the world (through absolutely no planning of mine, I assure you) so not that fixed after all, but they’ll pop up in reviews now and then. Would love to hear any thoughts about them, whether you’ve read them or not!