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.)

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.)

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.)

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…”