Monday, August 19, 2013

Fresh Air and Good Books

I'm in the middle of reading two books. The first one is Phantastes (not to be misread as 'fantasies' which is something my lazy mind's ear would do) by George McDonald, written in 1858. It is about a journey through Fairy Land by our hero, Anodos, who is both unsure and ambivalent about such a place. Within Fairy Land, he meets, and later becomes obsessed with, the Marble Lady. She is closer to myth and an object Anodos craves to be with versus any real type of person. Like a Harry Potter story, there are things in Fairy Land that could only exist in a context of magic, such as bloodthirsty trees and enchanted mirrors. The settings described are creepy, mundane, and gorgeous.
Photo credit: Pargile at

The second book is October Vagabonds by Richard Le Gallienne, an English poet who wrote this book in 1910. This book, like the first, is about two men who journey on foot to New York when the first fall chill hits the air. I found this story a little harder to fall into at first, but I'm finding a lot of pretty mental descriptions of things they find on their journey through New England. I thoroughly enjoy the thought of a painter and a writer traveling together and cataloging something brilliant about each day. Maybe it's the moon, or a bird, or the way "Dutch Hollow" sounds in your head.

I haven't finished either book, but both make me want to pack up a knapsack (I'm pretty sure we only own duffle and book bags) and hit the road. Recently discovering the website, where the author describes what it's like living and traveling throughout Asia and the Middle East, has only added fuel to the fire (also, a great comprehensive resource on condiments!). My husband has dubbed this part of my personality as 'adrenaline junkie.'
Cabin fever induces a certain restlessness that is only released by going outdoors or somewhere away from the office slog, unfinished home projects, and to-do lists that can eat away most of the day.
When I finish these books, I'll be a little sad the journey is over. Maybe at that point I'll find another book that can take me away like a Calgon commercial.