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>Reading On A Jet Plane

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I’ll be exiting the peninsula tomorrow morning and going back to the U.S. for nearly a month. After taking care of…STUFF, I’m hoping to do some traveling and shopping. And eating. Such eating I’ve got planned — if it’s delicious and not healthy, down the hatch it goes and all while I’m monitoring the day-to-day fortunes of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Before I can do all of that, there’s the 14-hour plane journey and before that there’s the big decision about which books go into my backpack. What to read? After that surfeit of Canadian novels, I’m feeling mostly nonfictional:

Clay – Suzanne Staubach. Eco Reading Challenge material.

Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve been shying away from this book since impulsively buying it more than 18 months ago. Now it suddenly feels like a summer travel read. Anne Lamott likes it. Good enough.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running– Haruki Murakami. Murikami’s memoir of training for the New York marathon is tiny. Travel-sized. Virtually no extra weight and I can rack up another author from a foreign country.

The Egg and I – Betty MacDonald. Is there any thing like a good fish-out-of-water classic when you’re wedged in the middle seat between Seoul and Dallas-Fort Worth?

A Single Shard – Linda Sue Park. I love Korea; I hate Korea. I can’t wait to leave; I’m homesick when I’m away. I stride jauntily through the departure gate at the airport; I’m terrified that Immigration won’t let me back into the country. I’d turn my back on it in an instant; I want to live here forever. No place enrages and enraptures me more — it’s just like being married. Maybe having this 2002 Newbery winner about a boy’s life in 12th-century Korea on hand will keep my ambivalence at bay. At the very least, I hope my head will stop doing those worrisome 360-degree rotations.

The Log From The Sea of Cortez – John Steinbeck. More Eco reading, plus the thought of Steinbeck’s voice in my mind’s ear while we’re both journeying — he by boat and I by plane miles and decades apart — makes me feel fresh and hopeful, which is the best frame of mind for traveling.

I never seem to be able to hunker down and blog when I’m on vacation, so I’ll be AWOL for a while. I’ll miss my fellow bookworm bloggers even while I’m careening madly from bookstore to bookstore with those sudden stops for yard sales. I’m already a dozen reviews behind, so catching up will be first on the list when I get back.

In a way, I’m impatient for time to pass quickly because on July 20th, I’ll begin teaching my very first reading class in Korea. If all goes well, the class has a chance of becoming a regular feature in the curriculum. I still haven’t quite managed to wrap my mind around the idea of getting paid to do what comes naturally, but it should all sink in beautifully when I’m in the classroom listening to the nearly musical flick of pages being turned. Meanwhile, happy reading to us all.
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