I came in with a large number of books that I wanted to read while I was in here – stuff that I just hadn’t had time to get to in the outside world that I thought I’d have plenty of time to finish in here. To be honest, I’ve been so busy that it’s been really hard to find time to read. I generally read in bed, but often I’m so tired I just pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow.
That said, I had a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I finished “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” by T. E. Lawrence on Sunday. The last couple of chapters or parts were enthralling, with the Arab and British in their final push for Damascus, and Lawrence’s reflections on what his part in all this had been, and what leadership means, and why he even did any of it. Fascinating stuff. It was not an easy read, but extremely well written, and has me burning with desire to see Petra and Rumm and other places he described so magically in the book. A lot if it sounded absolutely horrendous as well, but other bits were amazing.
The other big book I read while here was “Shantaram”. It’s fiction, about a guy who escapes jail in Australia and is living as a fugitive in India, and it’s written by a guy who escaped jail in Australia and lived on the run in India… so yeah, fiction. But we can only write about what we know, right? It wasn’t super high quality writing, but was extremely interesting for all that and made me want to go to India and just hang out in Mumbai for a while. India was never super high on my travel list, but now it is.
Other than those two books, I haven’t done a lot of reading. A book of short stories by Neil Gaiman; bits and pieces of Le Petit Prince and Out of Africa; and one of the Harry Potter books when I was in the mood for that. I started “August 1914”, but haven’t been in the mood for Russian literature I guess, even though I liked the bit at the beginning where one of the characters takes a break in his journey to see if he can meet Tolstoy at his estate, and does, and has a meaning-of-life conversation with him.
Next up is “The Martian”, by Andy Weir, because everyone keeps asking what I thought of it, and honestly I haven’t read it yet. And there’s a movie version of if coming out sometime before Christmas, and I guess everyone who’s Mars crazy has read it, so I need to get on that. But I didn’t have it readily available last night so got distracted by a book on early Puritans settling in America by Sarah Vowel. It’s looking to be an easy read though, so I should be on to the Martian soon enough.