I am gearing up to leave for this year’s installment of the BHI Writer’s Retreat, and I couldn’t be more excited. I will travel slowly; I will stay a week; I will work on chapter three of the book I am trying to write. I will
really really try to exercise daily. I will do my best to unplug and observe, which became the point last year and should be again. I don’t feel the need to be as militantly disconnected this time around, although I will ditch Facebook for the most part and I still insist on avoiding Interstate 95 at all costs. I’ll travel up through Pennsylvania instead, past battle fields and through the rolling hills into the mountains of New York and Vermont.
Perhaps the best part of these pre-departure days has been figuring out what I want to read while I’m there, and though I’ve gone back and forth in recent weeks I think I’ve finally settled on a reading list. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it takes me back to Welty and Maxwell — but this time not to their letters or memoirs or essays, but to the root of it all: their fiction. So, the short list:
Losing Battles, part 2 (last summer was part 1, when I read the first two hundred pages of this massive book, what she referred to throughout the years she was working on it as “the long novel.”)
And, thanks to the dear and wonderful JJ, I now have my own copy of Marilynne Robinson’s new essay collection, When I was a Child I Read Books
Oh, and this. Last minute addition! You might think I swung by the bargain bin at Costco, but you’d be wrong (because Costco refuses to sell it!). I saw Joan Rivers last night at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and got a copy of her new book. It may make an appearance at the pool a time or two; something tells me water can’t hurt it. I can imagine reading it with a drink in my hand, can’t you?