A Hell of a Holiday Read (and a Purgatory and Paradise, too)

I’ve become increasingly aware that I haven’t had a Sunday off since our Holy Land pilgrimage last autumn. (And in any case, a pilgrimage isn’t a holiday for a vicar! :-) ) If you want to know how I’ve begun to notice this might be a problem, it’s something about the touchiness. The number of times recently that an innocent “Can I just have a word with you about something…?” from a parishioner has ended with me crawling on the floor growling and nipping at their ankles.

So yes, you could say we need a holiday – including a couple of Sundays off. And we’re leaving tomorrow.

Demob happiness has started already, with delighted planning of holiday reading. I know from past experience that I always take too many books with me, always end up reading hardly any of them, always return with more than I took, because I spend half the holiday in bookshops, buying books (oh, yes, I’m not one of those customers who read a whole novel while they’re browsing) and sometimes even reading the books I buy.

Each year I think I will simply yield to serendipity, not take any books at all with me, and only read wonderful holiday ‘finds’. Or perhaps I’ll just pack my Bible and my Amazon Kindle, which already contains the equivalent of a good-sized bookshelf of unread or to-be-reread titles.

But no. I do have one of my usual holiday reading projects. This year I want to read Dante’s Divina Commedia. It’s a multi-media task: listening to the Italian audiobook and following the printed text – I don’t really know Italian, and I’m the kind of person (how did you guess?) who thinks this is a good way to learn – and reading John Ciardi’s translation on my Kindle.

There’s a Web site to help, too: The World of Dante. Or it would help, if we had Internet access on holiday…

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