Honeymoon Reading

I’m getting married 3 weeks today.

Anticipation, as you may imagine, is thick. What’s the main draw? The happy guests? The enchanting ceremony? The glowing sunlight? Looking peerlessly beautiful? Dancing like a swan? These things are all guaranteed to me on The Big Day, surely.

At this point of frenzied preparation, just as appealing is the honeymoon. Three weeks of blissful, peaceful, exotic, work-free, delicious honeymoon. I’ll have so much time I’ll invariably write a journal in which I become overly introspective, make some grand and intellectualised plans for my life, return home and immediately quit my job. This is my typical travelling behaviour. Watch this space.

This self-indulgent soul-searching (and of course the quality time spent with my fresh husband during which we do not have the impending wedding to discuss) aside, there is another major draw. The sheer quantity of reading I’m going to get through. Unashamed, unadulterated weeks of reading – I will splurge and glut myself on tome after tome of literary fiction. So much so that, despite a whole blog post several months ago on the evils of ereaders, that I’ve asked for one for my birthday to lightly contain three weeks of intensive reading material.

The planning of my honeymoon reading is almost as exciting as choosing my wedding dress. Everytime I walk past a Waterstone’s I enter and stand in the centre with my palms out, eyes closed, inhaling deeply the possibilities… well, almost. What I do do is hunt down the very longest novels I can find, thrilled with the prospect of having the time to actually read them. For some reason length is a prerequisite. Despite the ereader meaning that I could easily take 30 shorter books, I will only consider the most lengthy and epic of sagas as eligible for my honeymoon. I want to be gripped for days.

Here is a list of my prime targets – each at least 600 pages.

Wolf Hall has been recommended to me by the same literary friend who led me to Possession and What to Look for in Winter. I won’t deny that Tudor subject matter is not my cup of tea but (and here’s the real honeymoon appeal) I can AFFORD to take that risk when I have three weeks of reading up my sleeve.

Like Wolf Hall, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle is not something I would usually attempt. It is post-modernist. It deals with themes of isolation and is surreal in its narrative treatment (apparently.) These things frankly discourage me. However, this was recommended to me in such a glamorous way I feel powerless to refuse. I was on an advertising TV shoot, hunkering down infront of a heat lamp on a decrepid old sofa in the corner of an echoey warehouse of a studio in Acton. The only light came from the heat and the hubbub around an aggressively lit set up focusing on blank packs of shampoos, labels removed and resprayed in white so, in the words of the director, they looked like precious porcelain. This same director came to huddle by the heat and we fell into a literary conversation, in which he comprehensively trounced me by naming this as his favourite novel, supported by a number of esoteric but vaguely impressive reasons. I can’t recall what I claimed in that moment was my favourite novel, but I believe I plumped for Gone with the Wind, which was the clear end of any claim of intellectual parity in that conversation. Anyway, the director turned out to be a disaster who vacated the editting suite before his work was done, but in the potential post-honeymoon eventuality that I am asked my opinion on Murakami and post-modern Japanese fiction, I aim to be armed.

Now this really IS my cup of tea. India, you say? Post-independence, you hazard? Family saga, you assure me. I am IN. I have been waiting to read this book for nearly a decade. At 1349 pages, it has never been practical. Until now. This is the definitive honeymoon book.

Further recommendations are welcome. Entries under 600 pages will not be admitted.


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