I’m traveling with one pair of pants, no sweaters, and a single pair of shoes, but I’m lugging no less than eleven books around with me. You don’t need to tell me how stupid that is. I know -- I’m the one carrying the bag. Naturally, I thought a lot about what I should read during this trip. It’s important to be picky about the voices you let into your head while working on something as focused, intense, and solitary as a novel.
I’ve already mentioned Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast in a previous posting. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have that book in your back pocket at all times. The other important texts I'm carrying are Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, both of which I’ve read before and are in my top-20 list. I brought along Hemingway for inspiration, Hammett for style, and Dostoevsky for madness.
I’m also traveling with stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a novella by Raymond Chandler, Adrian McKinty’s forthcoming novel, and of course the necessary histories, guidebooks, and Caravaggio biographies. By the way, if you haven’t already read McKinty’s brilliant crime novel Dead I Well May Be, stop reading this blog, call in sick to work, and go buy it.