A real sabbatical post

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So we are staying here, in this little house that belongs to my incredibly generous colleagues. It is amazing. A six week writing retreat, with a few walks along a giant beach. Also, the weather has been stunningly beautiful. But I thought that between photos of Lucy running and views of the ocean, I would put up a real sabbatical post. A what I’ve been doing while it looks like I’m on vacation kind of a post. Partly in case anyone is checking, but partly because everyone loves a list of books, right (I’ll spare you the writing, for now)? And what would a list of books be if it wasn’t accompanied with a group of gorgeous pictures of the beach, which is a five minute walk from the house.

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Bar none, the best thing about sabbatical is having time to read. We didn’t fill up over a third of the Yaris’s trunk with a banker’s box of books for nothing. I have been waiting years for this! Years. Just having the time to read whatever I want has been completely and totally amazing. I realize most people would say that about living by the beach rather than a box of books, but to each their own….

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None of these would fall into my top category of Books That Have Changed my Life, Altered My Career and Totally Affected the Way that I Live and Think. Moving Politics might have come close – I did really enjoy it a lot. And I loved that it was long and weighty – it deserved that. Several fell into the Page Turners That Might Not Strictly Be Academic and Haven’t Seen a Citation But are Thoroughly Enjoyable Nonetheless: The Influencing Machine for one. And the Stealing the Mystic Lamb, which I am definitely going to use in my Art & Crime course. They were both gale creators, the pages were turning so fast. Rats, same idea, not as good. Books That Are Good and I Need to Read for My Writing, But Which I Left Spine Broken Open on Several Occasions. I’m looking at you Lifeblood (although I regret the broken spine – the book was lucid and quite fascinating), and Recycling Reconsidered. Reading Fiction for Fact: Memoirs, which I thought was a pretty impressive way of rendering Guantanamo as fiction. It was funny, and that has to be an accomplishment. What’s left … Brains, I wish I’d seen the exhibition, I liked that one. Evil Empires, about what you would expect and a bit dated now (I should have gotten to that box earlier), but I’m glad I read it. And Hiroshima After Iraq, which might fall under the category of Books That I Wanted to Like More Than I Did.

I’m a third of the way through the box. I might also have read several of the page turners while sitting on the beach, leaving a few of the academic tomes to sink to the bottoms of the box. But I have been saving Sensible Politics. I am so excited for that one! Lucy, I think, would prefer more trips to the beach….

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