Well, there’s nothing like a flattering mention by a favorite blogger to motivate one to write … so let’s see, what have I been doing? Not nearly as much reading as I’d like, but life has been full of other good things instead, such as getting to climb mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire, including a climb up Mt. Washington, home of the world’s worst weather. Fortunately for Hobgoblin, Muttboy, and I, we didn’t actually encounter the world’s worst weather and had, instead, a gorgeous, clear, dry day to hike. Still, while it was in the 70s at the base of the mountain, by the time we reached the top, the temperature had plummeted to the 40s and my extra sweater didn’t do much to keep me warm.
What a lovely hike that was, well worth the days of sore muscles I experienced afterwards. All my illusions that my cycling and running would make climbing mountains any easier were shattered — Hobgoblin and I hobbled around like we were 95 years old for three or four days afterward. Well, we did managed to loosen up our aching muscles enough to climb some smaller Vermont mountains, but once we’d sat around for a while after the climbs, we could barely get up again. Yes, a little training would have been a good idea.
We also had a grand time not camping. We enjoyed every one of the many restaurants we visited, every moment in our comfortable bed and shower, every chance to lounge around on the sofa, every stroll around a cute Vermont town. I do love camping and backpacking, I do, but sometimes it’s nice not to do it.
And, of course, I came home with more books than I left with. We spent some time in Hanover, New Hampshire, which has two excellent bookstores (at least), one of which is the Dartmouth College bookstore — one of those Barnes and Noble college stores, but one well worth getting lost in. The other was a used bookstore just up the street from the first. After a long time spent in both stores, I walked away with John Mullan’s How Novels Work, which I have begun and am enjoying; it’s a good introduction to the technical aspects of fiction. Also Charles Lamb’s The Essays of Elia to add to my essay collection, Elizabeth Phelps’s The Story of Avis, a 19C American novel, and Lady Morgan’s The Wild Irish Girl, originally published in 1806.
There was also an awesome used bookstore in Woodstock, Vermont, where I spent at least an hour combing through the shelves; I brought home a collection of D.H. Lawrence’s literary criticism.
Since I’ve returned home a few more books have arrived through Book Mooch: Theodore Zeldin’s An Intimate History of Humanity, Jenny Diski’s Stranger on a Train, and Anne Fadiman’s At Large and at Small. The book piles threaten to get out of control: there are two local libraries having their book sales soon, at which point I’ll probably be drowning in books.
I did finish one book on the trip, A.J.A. Symons’s The Quest for Corvo, which I hope to write about soon.