Weekend spoils

We nipped up to Northampton, MA for the weekend, where my sister in law lives while she’s completing her residency at a hospital up that way. She’s doing an ICU rotation at the moment, so this was her first two consecutive days off in a while, and the last for about another three weeks. All she has to look forward to in the short term are more 30 hour shifts and long nights on call. About 10 minutes of talking to my s-i-l, can put my own job in very clear perspective: it’s publishing; no one dies. I know nothing about having a bad day or a bad week . I am never, ever going to have to say, as she does, ‘The last two died on me, but I just had to put that behind me and get on with the next.’ And I can’t even begin to comprehend the enormity of doing that day in, day out, when you are physically and mentally exhausted after 30 hours with no sleep, and moreover to continue to work with integrity and empathy, the way I know she does.

I think we are rather lucky that when J has some time off, she chooses to spend it with us.

On this trip we toddled around town. There had been some talk of a hike, but the sleet was blowing sideways at us so wandering from eatery to used record and bookstores seemed a much better option, with a stop for hot chocolate along the way. I scored:

  • Death in Vegas – The Contino Sessions
  • Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of the Bewildebeest
  • Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmares


  • Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky – Patrick Hamilton. Dorothy introduced me to Patrick Hamilton earlier in the year and I’ve been gathering more of his stuff.
  • Ka – Roberto Calasso – A complete impulse buy because I so enjoyed The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. This is the same thing but for Indian mythology.
  • The Maltese Manuscript – Joanne Dobson – I’ve been looking for something by her based on a recommendation from Hobgoblin.

So now we’re home and I had really good intentions of doing chores. But actually I think I’ll make another cup of tea and settle in with The Maltese Manuscript.


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I've run out of books. Again.

4 thoughts on “Weekend spoils”

  1. I’m also in complete awe of people who work like your sister-in-law does. I can barely set foot in a hospital without being overcome by terrible fears of death and catastrophe and simply could not hack it day to day. When my husband gets uptight about work, I do say to him: no one’s bleeding. It’s a useful little distinction to make.

  2. Dorothy – The Hamilton was excellent!

    Litlove – I’m not afraid of hospitals but I do find them depressing places. You’re right, it’s a very useful distinction to get things back in proportion.

  3. It’s very sobering to encounter those who have jobs that deal with illness and death on a daily basis (and makes it very hard, when you happen to be married to one, to whine and complain about, say, that stupid author who keeps missing extended deadlines). How’s the Arctic Monkeys?

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