It is a mere week to Europe and I should be packing. Or at the very least, thinking about what to pack. Actually, I have been thinking about what to pack – just not the practical stuff that I should take care to remember to bring along.
Instead, I have been mulling over which book to bring with me for weeks. It is not as if good reading material can make or break a trip, but it can certainly enhance it. I don’t know why I am bothering to explain this to you.
I keep flitting between books; indecisive as usual.
First, there’s the official biography of The Beatles that I ordered off NOQ some time ago. It’s merits include its hefty size (no fear of running out of pages to read while half way between Munich and Prague!) and of course, fascinating subjects (obviously, there is some unhealthy idol-worshiping going on here). The down side to this choice is its non-fiction nature. Fiction over non-fiction any day, there is no contest (even if it is The Beatles).
Then there is The Kindly Ones, written by American-born author Jonathan Littell in French, of which I have the English translation (of course). I bought it two years ago because it was highly recommended by someone that I deem to know a thing or two about books. Then it sat on my shelf for two years. I blame that on how a 900 pages long World War II / Holocaust plotline can seem kind of daunting on most days (when you just want to read a clever, funny story and laugh a little). Arguments for this choice includes how it is supposed to be a remarkable book (i.e. won prestigious literary awards), abundance of pages (hopefully filled with good words) and the subject matter seems apt – I will be visiting Auschwitz, so it can vaguely pass as ‘background reading’.
Then I stopped and realised that it may be a little much, especially on a trip that is designed very specifically to be non-depressing.
Which brings me to the third and last option, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I don’t know how to put this across without sounding like a judge-the-book-by-its-cover kind of idiot, but this book gets bonus p0ints just because it has an English author. By experience, I prefer English writers – and not just because they spell words the way they are meant to be spelt. It ticks all the right boxes (double-ticks for belonging to the fantasy genre) and I have no idea why I have not read it in all this time (I bought it in 2005), so its as good a time as any to finally take the plunge with it.
Don’t ask me why I just had this crazily serious monologue about what to read on Europeans trains. Because I really don’t know. It just feels important enough for me to be writing about it at a quarter to 2am.
Oh, and my Big Bang Theory episode just finished loading. That’s the cue for me to stop this mindless rambling.
So, stopping. Stopped.