As I get ready for my trip to Ireland in early May, I've decided to embark upon a crash course in contemporary Irish literature. (Because that's just what I need, another reason to buy books. And clearly, my idea of fun is just whacked.)
You have to love the internet, though, because within the span of about 5 minutes I had turned up several syllabi from different college courses and had a good list of authors. I trotted over to the bookstore and found two to start with. One is "The Gathering" by Anne Enright, and the other is a collection of short stories called "Cheating At Canasta" by William Trevor (which includes an essay of his published in the New Yorker a few years ago, which you can read here if you are so inclined).
I haven't been reading a whole lot of fiction in the past few years, so I'm interested to see how I like these works. It's not that I don't enjoy fiction, I just have a bad habit of getting so engrossed that I wind up reading until 4 am, or forgetting to get off the train, or deciding to take a ten-minute break at my desk and discover an hour has passed. Avoiding fiction for me is a kind of self-preservation...so we'll see how this goes. I know that a purist would delve into Joyce, but I decided I needed to work my way up to him...plus, I'm more interested in current literature anyway.
The other thing I'm working on is downloading music for the trip. I have plenty of Snow Patrol, Glen Hansard, and Damien Rice, and a little bit of Van Morrison and U2, but I need some girl music in there. Lisa Hannigan is on my list for sure, but I need to do some more digging.
I'm also stocking up on rain gear, because I figure that the best way to ensure that we see the sun is for me to buy a new coat, hat, umbrella, and boots. And I've bought a map of downtown Dublin, and have marked out the route from our hotel to a yarn store. I know that most Irish yarn is produced with imported wool, but I'll be happy with a skein or two that was spun in country!