Monday, June 29, 2009

Desert island game and some random thoughts

There has to be a better way. I'm heading to the place of no internets, where I'll have no distractions, no office that I have to go to, and nothing but lots of time to strike a nice balance between hanging out and doing some writing. That's the good part.

The bad part is that, as if I'm playing the desert island game, I have to choose only about 5 books to take with me. (I'm not paying for an additional suitcase this year, now that fees are applied for the first bag.*) I only have .pdf copies of a couple of books, and one of the books has to be one I'm reviewing, so that leaves four. Should they be criticism? Primary texts I know really well but will need to cite? Humongously heavy biography that is really a useful reference but could double as a blunt instrument in a murder mystery because of its weight? If I'm really desperate, there's a library about 2 hours away that will have what I need, but of course I won't be able to check out books from there.

There should be a way to bring books and solitude together, shouldn't there? I know I've ranted about this before, but if we can download entire movies or TV just by paying for them at Amazon or iTunes, why can't Google make this happen? (I know, I know--copyright issues--but couldn't they get some kind of licensing in place that would allow it to work?)

* And about those bag fees: I hate them but I pay them because a flight anywhere from Northern Clime involves so many changes of planes (and usually races through the airport) that I don't want to deal with a suitcase, too. On the several flights I've been on recently, many people seem to be putting the suitcases in the overhead bin, which seems to be working out fine.

On the other hand, when the cheerful flight attendants remind us to put our computer bags under the seat so that people who didn't pay the luggage fees will have room in the overhead bins, they never explain why my legs should be doubly cramped so that someone else doesn't have to pay a fee to check a bag, so the computer bag goes in the overhead bin whether they like it or not.


Carl said...

Suck it up and get a Kindle. It's expensive and nowhere near perfect or even terrific, but if you can't imagine an actual vacation without books it will let you take as many as you want for under a pound of carry-weight.

Carl said...

Actually, now that I think of it a really neat thing to do would be to take no books and do all of your writing off the top of your head. Then fill in the references when you get back. You might be surprised how much you know, how well you think, and how binding the archive is.

Anonymous said...

I do miss your blog.

Ron Relation said...

Which books are you going to take ?

nicolas celibataire said...

Totally agree with you about running through airports and having a bag to carry after you. On the other hand if I were to choose between that and leaving my books at home, I'd go for the first.

undine said...

Carl, I'm starting to think you're right, both about the Kindle and about writing from scratch without the books. Although I didn't get a lot of it done when I was gone, I'm going to try that to jump start the project now that I'm back.

Anonymous, thank you!

Ron Relation, I didn't end up taking very much--three real books in all and a couple of .pdf public domain ones. It's interesting, though: I felt as though I really got to know them in a way that I don't when I have more books available.

nicolas celibataire, I'd normally agree about leaving the books behind, but there was something kind of liberating about having to choose. With only three on hand (except for the .pdf ones), I spent less time dithering about what I'd read next: it was more "read one and move on."