One of the many benefits of coming receiving this fellowship is the gift of time. It's been very difficult being away from my wife, son, family and (most of) my friends, but having four weeks where the only actual responsibility I have is to get up every day and feed myself was part of the reason I applied.
But a guy can only write so much in a one day. Even if I went at it for eight hours, which I have a few times, that leaves a whole lot of time to fill. The TV in my apartment only gets three channels, one of which is in Irish most of the day, and the end of the internet comes up really fast. So I've managed to occupy myself with an activity that I've had precious little time for in the year--here is where I tell you to take your mind out of the gutter--reading.
I think eight novels in two weeks might be a new personal record. To be fair, the last four are noir-detective-literary blends, and those are usually very fast reads, regardless of when or where you read them. Tinkers by Paul Harding (second in from the right, top row) definitely deserved the Pulitzer, but you need to be in the right mood. Heavy on language and image, short on plot. American Rust by Philipp Meyer (far left, top row) had good plot, good language. It reminded me a lot of Steinbeck, in both tone and theme.
Here's the Irish-language book I borrowed from the library.
Being alone sucks, except when you're trying to pronounce phrases like "Ar fheabhas!" (Very good!)