Day after tomorrow, Hobgoblin, Muttboy, and I are headed out of town, so this may be my last post before we leave. We’re visiting my parents first, in the Rochester, NY, area, and then we’re heading over to Vermont where we will spend a week hiking, riding our bicycles, and seeing some sights. We know Vermont almost entirely because of backpacking, which is a great way to see a state (its woods and mountaintops at least), but rather exhausting. This trip will be wonderfully luxurious in contrast — instead of a tent or a three-sided lean-to shared with strange people and mice, we’ll have a real bed for each and every night! We’ll have showers! Restaurants! Hot food! On the downside, we won’t be woken by a moose walking to within a few feet of our tent. But that’s okay.
I’m not sure how much reading I will do, although I will certainly take along a backpack full of books. Our vacations in the past have been rather manic; instead of lounging around all day, we were more likely to climb a mountain — or three — after taking a long bike ride in the morning. But who knows? Perhaps this time we’ll be in the mood for some quiet.
I want to mention before I go that I recently finished André Aciman’s novel Call Me By Your Name and thought it was very beautiful — a perfect summer book. I don’t have time for a full review, but briefly, it’s about a summer love affair that takes place on the coast of Italy. Elio, the narrator, is a precocious 17-year-old who falls in love with Oliver, a young scholar visiting Elio’s family for six weeks to finish up his academic book. The novel tells of Elio’s obsession with Oliver and his uncertainty about how to approach him, whether to approach him, how to interpret his bewildering behavior, and how to process his own bewildering, contradictory feelings. The book captures the brief, intense love affair of summer wonderfully well; I read it fast and was caught up in its slow, thoughtful, dreamy, sometimes anguished, mood and didn’t want to put it down and didn’t want it to end. I will admit that I sometimes have trouble reading novels about the ridiculously privileged/wealthy/hyper-educated and those feelings came out here, but I did my best to ignore them for the sake of an excellent piece of writing.
As for what books I’m taking with me, definitely A.J.A. Symons’s The Quest for Corvo, which I have begun and have fallen in love with — it’s subtitled “An Experiment in Biography,” and although its subject matter is very different from Janet Malcolm’s The Silent Woman, the two books are similar in structure and method — both are about the author’s growing obsession with an intriguing and elusive biographical subject and about the course of his/her researches. Both authors turn their research into an entertaining story — entertaining because of the information revealed about the subject and about the author.
Also Charlotte Brontë’s novel Shirley, which I mean to begin any day now. I think I’ll take Jenny Davidson’s new novel The Explosionist too. I’m not sure what else. I may grab some things that appeal to me in the moment I happen to be packing.
So I’ll be back in a couple weeks with a full report. Enjoy August everyone!