Every August, my wife and I travel to Turkey and stay at a vacation house her parents own near the bayside city of Çeşme.
In addition to the expected pleasures of visiting family, sunning, swimming, watching the remarkable sunsets, and eating great food—boyos (think of a dense, biscuit-sized croissant), gevreks (the bagel’s leaner cousin), sucuk (spicy sausage, usually eaten in a sandwich with a pigeon-shaped roll called a kumru), kofta (Turkish meatballs), lokma (Turkish donuts), stuffed mussels, fresh sardines, and the most amazing figs, olives, melons, and peaches known to mankind—beyond all of that, the one great joy both Mette and I look forward to in Çeşme is one I think most Unboxers can appreciate.
Specifically: beach reading.
The picture below represents the books Mette managed to devour while sunning herself on the warm white sand. (She’s the kind of reader every writer dreams of.)
My haul was significantly less impressive, but what I lacked in numbers I tried to make up for in heft (he says heftily).
Basically, beyond a series of articles on political theory and histories of the Apache and Afghan wars (they’re strangely similar), I principally focused on one book—Jungian psychiatrist James Hillman’s The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling—and a lecture series from the Teaching Company titled The Modern Intellectual Tradition: Descartes to Derrida.
Now wait, wait—before you doze off—I will admit my approach to beach reading may seem a bit stodgy, but both the book and the lectures made a significant impact on my understanding of character and characterization.
Allow me to explain.