The best thing about getting away - aside from the crisp white sheets and the being under a different sky - has to be the reading. I've been reading my little heart out of late. It's wonderful and long-missed - I had a dry spell for a while after Christmas, couldn't be bothered with it all. But since I've been getting out of town a bit this winter, I've found my way back to books. After last week at the lighthouse and now a few days in Melbourne with my big sister, I'm turning some serious pages. It feels SO GOOD. Selecting just the right book at the right time is important to me. I desperately want to read The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, after it's Man Booker win, but having just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (brilliant, amazing, special), I felt like something I could more easily throw in my bag and read on the bus or plane. Something with substantially less pages.
I've had my eye on Eimear McBride's A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing for some time, but it felt too heavy for my mood. As did Nathan Englander's What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank - though I'll be getting to both soon. With all this cold I just wanted something lighter, something more traditional and romp-like.
And, as it happens, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is just that. It is, so far, perfection. It is everything I felt like reading on the plane, in the cafe and at the bar as I've wandered about Melbourne today. It's one big literary reference in and of itself, at the same time as being a terrific page-turner and glimpse at being young and trying to understand love (I'm only about a third of the way in). The writing is so sharp and funny and Eugenides has a way with descriptions that cut right to the heart of things - brief and yet so telling.
My sister lands later tonight but I've had a ball wandering laneways and hopping trams, buying Isabel Marant shirts on sale and in between it all, lattes and wine in the afternoon while reading.
*Picture from my lunch at Manchester Press.