Tomorrow G and I fly to Europe for a 10 week stint. I’m presenting a paper at the London Film and Media Conference, and I’ll be working on my thesis as we travel, but there will also be lots of time for art, food, people, absinthe… and of course, literary tourism. The agenda includes: France, England, Scotland, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic (yes, I’m going back to the Kafka museum) and Germany. We’re doing it cheap – hostels, B&BS, couches and a couple of hotels. I’m incredibly excited.
I’ve been to Europe before, in 2008. I was there for a month, travelling alone. It was winter, and I was only in each place three to four days. This time, it’ll be summer, I’ll be travelling with the person I love, and we’ll be in each place for one to two weeks. G has never been to the UK or Europe, so it’ll be all new to him. And of course, we’re going to places I’ve never been before, such as the Scottish Highlands, Bucharest, Budapest and more.
My plan for work is to get up in the morning and put in a few hours, then we’ll go out for the rest of the day. There are also one or two places where we’re staying where I’ll work more, and some where I’ll work less. I get one month of leave, so I’ll spread that out across the trip. Luckily, G is doing Honours and has plenty to go on with, too. He can also just go exploring by himself – so much to see, and be inspired by.
So, will I be taking you with me? Yes, I want to blog, but it’ll be intermittent. I’m sure you understand. I have a few good guest reviews and posts lined up, and I will try to blog about some of the sights and books along the road. It might be more informal. I might throw up some pics, I might blog about something that isn’t literary-minded at all. It’ll be an adventure for you too, I hope.
What books am I taking with me?
My ereader is full of goodies, some recently downloaded include Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille (erotic), Bliss, and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield (which features a story called ‘Je Ne Parle Pas Francais’ – apt), short stories of Guy de Maupassant, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford, The Last Man and Mathilda by Mary Shelley, the collected essays of George Orwell, and some Stendhal, Chekhov, Lovecraft, Gogol and Zola. I bought Road to the Soul by Kim Falconer, as I enjoyed the first one in the series, and I’m still reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Many of these books were recommended to me, so thank you.
I have a pile of print books, too (can’t help myself): The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates, Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift (all for the classics project), Bright and Distant Shores by Dominic Smith (it’s huge but I’m loving it and couldn’t possibly leave it behind), The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Asylum by Erving Goldman (related to thesis), Hemingway on Paris and The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by Eric Hazan, which I’m reviewing.
Phew. I know I won’t get through them, but I love having a choice – and there will be plenty of time to dive into books on planes and trains.
While I’m here, I have reviews published in the latest issues of Australian Book Review (online here) and Bookseller+Publisher (plus an interview with author Miles Vertigan) if you’d like to look out for those. I’ve filed a couple more with newspapers, too, but I’m not sure when they’ll appear. If you’d like to read some more of my writing while I’m away you can find some of my short stories here.
Next time you hear from me it will probably be from Paris! All the best x