some summer reading
Two in the afternoon was where Sunday ended for me yesterday. My new found status as social butterfly on Friday and Saturday really cut into my sleep and my body just couldn't take anymore. When the alarm went off later at nine that night, I didn't feel like moving. I wasn't ready yet. It wasn't until two in the morning that I finally decided to get out of bed.
Despite this odd time, once I'm up I generally get quite a few things done. Two in the morning for me is just an early start on the day and I get a chance to do things that I have been puting off. For example, by the time that my weekend starts my house is usually a mess and I can take these early hours to do some cleaning. Going out isn't much of an option that early on a Monday morning.
After I got some grocery shopping done, I was ready to kick back for the rest of the day. I had done some cleaning and other chores. Now it was time to just enjoy the day. With a partly cloudy sky and a light breeze, today was a great day for reading. I set my chair up on the porch and brought out a small pile of books to pass the time. The pile itself was an odd mixture of subjects.
My first choice was called In Ruins The Once Great Houses of Ireland. I had bought it months ago, but it wasn't until today that I truly looked at all of the ghostly prints of these Irish wrecks. Each page reminded me of the cover to the U2 album The Unforgettable Fire, except that these photos weren't taken by Anton Corbijn.
Seeing all of these places made me wonder how far one has to travel in Ireland before you stumble across one of them. I mean I went through eight different countries in Europe and I didn't see one ruined castle. Then again Ireland is fairly small so maybe they are just around every other corner.
The other thing that caught my attention was how many of them had been burned during what the book called the Troubles in the 1920's. I have to confess that most of my knowledge of that time comes from the movie Michael Collins, but I get the general idea of what happened.
My next selection was another photo book called Highway America's Endless Dream. I had bought it at the same time as the Ireland book, but it too had lingered on my shelf unread until now. Instead of silver gelatin prints of ivy strewn castles, the book was filled with page after page of run down road side motels and cafes. These were ruins of a different sort and from another kind of past.
After the photo books I moved on to the books that I had just picked up from the library earlier in the day. I had gone there in search of the Habsburg book that I had returned on Friday, but I couldn't find it. Sadly it seems that the staff is a little slow in getting books back on the shelf. The online system said that it was available, but it wasn't where it was supposed to be on the shelf. So instead of a Habsburg book I opted for two different but related biographies. I walked away with a book on Marie Antoinette and another one on Frederick the Great, both of whom had dealings with the Habsburgs.
My other objective at the library was to get some more books on Australia. Once again the ones that I returned last week had yet to be returned to the shelves, so I picked three new ones to read. Two of them were non-fiction, while the third one was fiction. One of the non-fiction books was about the history of Australia in general while the other one focused just on Victoria.
About the only thing that I can say for certain about my proposed trip to Australia is that I probably won't be going to the west coat of the continent. Perth just isn't going to fit into my schedule with the limited amount of time that I have. Things that I do want to see include the Twelve Apostles at Port Campbell National Park, Melbourne, Brisbane, Noosa, Fraser Island and if I can fit them into my schedule Kakadu National Park and Ayers Rock now known by its Aboriginal name of Uluru.
Something about Sydney bothers me, but that might be due to all of the hype with the upcoming Olympics. Then again most of the Australians that I met in Europe were from Melbourne and not Sydney.
At the moment May is still my target month to go. The way that I see it, their summer will be winding down and I should be able to avoid the tourist rush around Easter. As to whether or not I'll be in school next spring has yet to be determined. First I want to see how well this semester goes for me.