Three in the morning.
It's a painful night – periodically for the past month or two I seem to have some new kind of digestive pains, they were wondering if my pancreas is in trouble or something like that. (Perhaps it's just a matter of endlessly taking mildly toxic medications for decades on end.) At least I seem to be recovering rather faster each time it happens; and I've gotten used to the fact that sleep on such nights is not probable.
Annoying, though, that tomorrow I have seminars to teach, and so won't get to sleep in.
The long bookcase behind the sofa has a lot of miscellaneous and oversized books – collections of stories, parodies; art books, odd experimental things. Tuftes on graphic representation, Hiroshige, and the wonderful Hundertwasser, along with various other oddities (a cartoon version of Proust, for instance). I don't look behind the sofa often enough, and I tend to forget that I even have these books; tonight I (quietly – the women downstairs sleep below this room) sit by these shelves and pull out things to sit up in bed with, pictures, places, stories.
An absolutely wonderful fable by A. S. Byatt, another by Borges. Some Oulipo oddities (but I'm tired of them soon – one has to be fairly alert to enjoy most Oulipo work). Several books that show other people's libraries – admittedly in most cases rich people (sigh) but when the design, or the bookcases, or the collections are particuarly exotic they can be wonderful to just gaze upon.
A minor favorite is this book of photo portraits I bought in Barcelona – nudes of various friends and neighbors of the artist at home, not remarkable or professional models, just everyday people; some of the couples are gay, and it is comforting to see them together in their apartments.
(I thought I had that big book by Hockney on form and structure in Renaissance paintings... perhaps it's in the other room. Another night, then.)
It's a bit hard to focus on anything too repetitive at this point – the entire, admittedly beautiful, book of Hiroshige palls after twenty or forty pages. Perhaps I'll (quietly, don't drop anything) take a pile of the large picture books back and pile them next to the bed....