Kris and I saved our shekels so we could go back to Italy, and in about two weeks we will be off to Milan. A day in Bellagio in the Lake Cuomo district; then a week in the Cinque Terra. We do our best to keep life on an even keel, so we normally do lots of things in advance. Really, I should say Kris does things in advance and I just keep on doing what I keep on doing. But there is one thing I always do:
If you guessed getting a stack of books ready to put in the suitcase, you got it: that’s about all I really do to get ready. I’ll pack clothes and junk the day or two before but I start thinking about books way in advance. I’ll get to read solidly for about 10 hours on the plane each way: with a little luck, I’ll get some good airport time too. Here’s what I’ve got stacked up, and I’ll have to choose from these:
Heiko Obermann’s book on Martin Luther
Fagan’s new book, Fish on Friday
Michael Kazim’s book on William Jennings Bryan, A Godly Hero
Lyndall Gordon’s T.S. Eliot
T.S. Eliot’s Christianity and Culture
Craveri’s The Age of Conversation
Phillip’s new book, C.S. Lewis in a Time of War
And a few more not listed … and a few more I’ll add in the next week or two … and maybe Joseph Epstein’s book on friendship will appear at the bookstore… and, and, and…
I’ve got to consider turning my attention to Mary pretty soon because I’m scheduled to write a book about Mary next winter.
I really ought to take Virgil’s Aeneid, but I read it not long ago. I’ll take along Benedict’s Rule. How could I not?
Others are stacked up to think about too. So, the hard part of vacation is deciding what to leave behind.
Vacations like this usually don’t mean lots of reading, but I have a physical symptom that comes from long years of reading and it is an odd one that doctors probably think is psychological, but my psychologist wife thinks is real stuff: I get a headache if I don’t devote some time to reading early in the day. If I go until noon and haven’t read, I’m more than likely to have what we call a “spilting head-etch.” So, I get up early on vacation and get some nice reading time done before Kris gets up.