Monday, November 30, 2009

...drown my manly spirit: adieu

I left for a trip to Hawaii today, and I’ve taken two books with me, Brideshead Revisited and Naked Lunch. I’m hoping that our plan of spending five days in Hawaii lying around doing pretty much nothing allows me some time to get in a lot of reading. I’m wondering if I should have brought a third book with me, in fact.

I began Brideshead on the plane from Vancouver to Honolulu. The copy I have from the library has a scene from the 2008 movie on the cover, which has a man and woman holding each other in a loving embrace, in front of an old European castle. I have to admit I felt a little embarrassed holding this book in my hands as a boarded the plane. The cover doesn’t look like one you’d find on a piece of classic English literature, but rather on a Harlequin novel. It doesn’t help that it has the tragic title of Brideshead Revisited. I wonder if anybody else notices this, or if it's just me. I had similar thoughts a few years ago when I was reading John Toland's biography of Adolf Hitler. Without a doubt one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read, but I always felt weird reading it in public, holding up a book with a big picture of Hitler superimposed over a giant swastika. Of course Brideshead isn’t offensive to anybody, but the cover isn’t all that masculine.

I managed to read about half the book on the plane, which surprised me. Usually I can’t read very much on the plane, as I’m too distracted by the various sounds, flight attendants checking my seat belt, or people bumping against me on their way to the washroom. It's usually easier to watch TV or a movie, which passes the time a little faster, and is easier to focus on through the miracle of headphones.

To summarize, progress is being made on the second book. Much faster than I thought it might go, but at the same time, not fast enough. I'd like to finish the list before I turn 100 myself.

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