(I realize this is the second time in about 10 days that I'm using the same graphic map. But, well, consider it a stand-in scene setter for now. Also, thanks a million to Sarah for sending links to info about the north -- much appreciated!!)

I can't decide whether I'm running away from summer or running toward the sun. But in a matter of days I will be in a place where the sun sets at 1 a.m. (and rises at 3 a.m.) and the temperature barely notches past 10C (if I'm lucky).

Such an adventure.

For inspiration, I've already packed The Sweet Edge and Late Nights on Air. The latter novel, funnily enough, comes up again and again as I make preparations to meet people up north. They keep mentioning the lure of the Territories, people's particular interest in the area at the moment, and the fact Elizabeth Hay won a Giller for her descriptions.

I'm also packing along Norwegian Wood, which I am still loving. Even if the author is making fun of the reader:

"'You've got this funny way of talking,' she said. 'Don't tell me you're trying to imitate that boy in Catcher in the Rye?'
'No way!' I said with a smile.
Reiko smiled too, cigarette in mouth. 'You are a good person, though. I can tell that much from looking at you. I can tell these things after seven years of watching people come and go here: there are people who can open their hearts and people who can't. You're one of the ones who can. Or, more precisely, you can if you want to.'" (p. 131)

I have to admit I don't think Haruki Murakami's work reads at all like J.D. Salinger's. But perhaps that is something in the translation....

I will admit there's a certain baffled naivete to Toru Watanabe as a main character that brings to mind Holden Caulfield. But I like Toru approximately 100 per cent more, even when he wanders into unusual circumstances I almost can't fathom.

Okay, friends. That's all from me for now. Take a look at this, though -- I think it'll make you smile on a totally unrelated note.
Also, I won't be here, but book club date's been set for Sunday. I look forward to reading and posting reviews of the book.... hint, hint....

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