Am off Monday to the hills outside Guadalajara, back December 1. No phone, no computer, no electronics of any kind or size means I’ll be offline for two weeks. I’ll be hiking like a mountain goat, eating like a pig, and frolicking like a five-year-old. But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving my mind behind in Seattle. With my newly enhanced vision, I’ll be reading like crazy.
So what does an accidental theologist pack for such a trip? Here’s the list:
— Reza Aslan’s new anthology of Mideastern 20th-century literature, Tablet & Pen. A big, solid, juicy collection translated from Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, and Farsi. Some of the writers I already know, but many I do not. I’ve dipped into it already and know it’ll be a wonderful travel companion, equal parts exploration and pleasure.
— Two novels by the newly crowned Nobelist Maria Vargas Llosa: The Storyteller and (for the plane) Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.
— Four volumes of The History of al-Tabari (from a forty-volume translation of the great early Islamic historian) which I will re-read very closely, pen and notebook in hand, in the clear early-morning hours before breakfast.
— A novel by Luis Alberto Urrea called The Hummingbird’s Daughter, recommended by a friend. Might be a bit too magical-realist for me right now, but it’s set during the Mexican Revolution so into my suitcase it goes.
— A Teach Yourself Spanish book (file this one under good intentions that will probably come to naught).
— And then a toss-up as to the last selection: one of two classics — either Montaigne’s Essays, whose wit and elegance I dip into occasionally and have been telling myself for years I should read all the way through, or Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, the Victorian blockbuster satire of greed and concupiscence that is as contemporary now as it was 140 years ago. Maybe the Trollope’s the book to read on the plane trip back…
Until December — Lesley