Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm back

Earlier today, I presented my interior design portfolio to a committee. My very best work from the academic year was pinned to a 4'-0" x 8'-0"display board. I had ten minutes to encapsulate the objectives as well as the design decisions I made to achieve those goals. The anticipation leading up to the presentation was nerve-wracking, but I spent the preceding hour practicing my speech. And, to quote the kids, "I killed." Next week I will have the results that hopefully seal my fate for the next three years*. 


A very intense academic year has precluded reading for pleasure. If you look at my stats, I have read 13 books, a third of which have been audiobooks. Thank goodness for audiobooks! My daily commute is forty minutes roundtrip, which isn't horrible and certainly has been much improved by being able to listen to books. Recently I listened to Henning Mankell's most newest book, Man from Beijing. Quite frankly, the novel was a huge disappointment. Two story lines are meant to converge but never do successfully. As a result, at many points, I wondered what the book was really about: the brutal crime committed in a small Swedish village or the story of one of China's new captains of industry, who has a devious plan. Perhaps the problem was listening to the audio version. I think there are inherent problems with "reading" audiobooks while driving, especially during moments of attention deficit in favor of traffic. Nonetheless, I have a Kurt Wallender mystery on my current reading list and will give Mankell another try.


After portfolio review, I rode the bus home from campus (my car is dead, unexpectedly), which gave me an opportunity to dip into Kingdom by the Sea, Paul Theroux's classic account of traveling around the coast of England. I love Paul Theroux and have read both his fiction and nonfiction. Last year I read the novellas in Elephanta Suite, which were stunning and dark. But his travel accounts, which appear in publications such as Architecture Digest and Conde Nast Traveller, blow my skirt up most. Something about the way he captures a place that is simultaneously repellent and desirable. His full-blown travel accounts are genre defining. 


I'm reading Kingdom by the Sea in anticipation of my summer vacation. It's 1982 and England is waging war in the Falklands, which becomes the backdrop for the prose. After living in London for over ten years, Theroux realizes he hasn't really been out of the city.  He jokes about towns like Lyme Regis and Chipping Camden but has never been to any of them, so he takes a trip, circling the the perimeter of the UK and Ireland. I'm reading a copy of the book that I bought in 1988, after returning from my London year abroad. When I picked the book up again, I found a bookmark (my younger brother's "calling" card from his year in Loudun) at the spot where I stopped reading—page 77. 


I hope to do better this time round, but it may be a challenge. Theroux is cranky; every town is a pit. He's nearly to the southwest counties, where I will be spending my summer vacation in three short weeks. He better not crap on my anticipation. Maybe I should stop reading now. 


But it feels so good to be reading for pleasure again. Writing for pleasure does not suck either.


*If not, I hope there is a place for me somewhere in the publishing world.

5 comments:

FranciscoL_Swaney0806 said...

動不一定每一次都成功,但坐而不行,絕無任何成功可言

said...

A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody..............................................

韋于倫成 said...

很棒的分享~如有打擾之處,敬請原諒!........................................

俊宏 said...

Custom makes all things easy~~加油哦.............................................

淑芬 said...

Make hay while the sun shines...................................................