Item:
One (1) Leuchtturm 1917 pocket notebook
(I’m a notebook obsessive, and when I found this at Powell’s Books in Portland last month I nearly blacked with pleasure. Like a Moleskine, but more generous – slightly larger, more pages of nicer quality paper – and, even better, less common.)

Item:
One (1) copy of Middlemarch by George Eliot
(I’ve been supposed to be reading it with my girlfriend, and a transatlantic flight might help me catch up.)

Item:
One (1) copy of The Reckoning: the Murder of Christopher Marlowe by Charles Nicholl
(a writer with an intuitive understanding of Renaissance life, I started this last year and got away from it. As mentioned below, his The Lodger is my favorite Shakespeare biography.)

Item:
One (1) copy of Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason
(I’m a stereotype in that I don’t think it’s a vacation without a murder mystery, especially, of late, a Scandinavian crime procedural. Though I liked Karin Fossum’s first Inspector Sejer book better than Indriðason’s first, Jar City, this book won the More Intriguing First Sentence Award: “He knew at once it was a human bone, when he took it from the baby who was sitting on the floor chewing it.” And, since Grímsvötn has so far decided not to interfere with my flight, I figured an Icelandic book would be a good investment.)

Plus my iPhone, a passport, a camera, decent noise-canceling headphones and a lot of gum. But those were foregone conclusions – the books are what I spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out. I’m back in a few weeks, and I’ve set up a few quick posts to hit “publish” for should I have an internet connection and the inclination.

Most pleasing of all, my itinerary matches the first line of one of my favorite songs: “Take a boat to England, baby, maybe to Spain…”