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.
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….
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….