I'm an historian by trade so I read and write all the time. Only before I go to bed do I actually get to stray from my steady diet of non-fiction and read what I want. This is my record of those late-night reads.
I just returned from Morocco. I like long plane rides because it gives me a chance to read things I generally don't have time for. In fact, choosing my reading list for these trips is one of my more obsessive practices. This time I was able to work my way through four books. Of course I broke into my Paul Bowles library. He has long been one of my favorite writers and who better to teach you about Morocco? I brought along his Travels: Collected Writings, 1950-1993 as well as his experimental novel, Points in Time. In travels, I heartily recommend Paul Theroux's introduction as well as Bowles's essay, "A Question of Identity."
I also finished Maria Rosa Merocal's The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain. I usually avoid history when I travel since that is what I do, but this book is so beautifully written (for a popular audience) and its subject matter overlapped with the work I was doing in North Africa. Again, this is quite an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
I picked up some Murakami at the airport in Madrid. (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.) Check back next Christmas. That is probably how long it'll take me to finish it.
I usually try to keep my social networking to a minimum unless, of course, it is the old-fashioned kind that requires looking someone in the eye. But then I figure this blog has a fail-safe mechanism. Since the conceit is to maintain a record of those books I read late at night when unwinding, I figure it will require updating about..once every three months. Sad but true. On the other hand, I'll have the benefit of reading through all these fine posts I find on my dashboard. Win-win. Buy the ticket, take the ride. I look forward to learning a lot.