Great interview with Lee Child at Playboy. (Tip courtesy of L. who picked up the magazine at her hipster hairdresser's!)
(NB I did think it highly implausible when Lee Child said in a recent interview that Reacher would vote Democrat!)
Teaching Madame Bovary was utterly exhilarating. I am increasingly convinced that every year I should just teach a seminar called "Interesting Books" whose only rationale would be that everything on the syllabus is something I think you can't afford to miss if you love novels! I think the main purpose of my spring-semester leave will be reading a ton of novels for the ABCs of the novel book (especially the classic Chinese and Japanese ones I mostly don't know), but it also should mean that I could roll out a couple new courses next year without it inducing a nervous breakdown.
We decide on curriculum as early as November for the following academic year, which is often tough (what will I feel like teaching in September 2013?!?), but I'm thinking I should repeat an old graduate seminar I only taught once - the Idea of Culture class (I have a new one I want to develop, on eighteenth-century modernities starting with Hamlet/Descartes and moving through Swift, Sterne, etc., but I need to get more work done on the ABCs of the novel project before I teach something that puts all sorts of interesting new ideas in my head!). Maybe do the MA seminar one more time, as it counts as a service course (otherwise I need to teach two lecture courses if I don't want to teach in the Core). An undergraduate seminar on voice in fiction that would include Sebald, Bernhard, Ishiguro, Lydia Davis, Gary Lutz, various others. And - this is the duty I am feeling, but it would also be a pleasure, though a lot of work! - a new lecture course, for undergraduates primarily but graduate students also, on eighteenth-century nonfiction. Perhaps just focused around Boswell and Johnson, as I have never taught Boswell's Life of Johnson and suspect that, rather like Clarissa, it is a book that students probably won't read at all if I'm not teaching it!
Absolutely gripped by Diana Wynne Jones's reflections on writing, which are giving me a huge hunger for some serious time immersed in Sidney and Spenser - that, too, is on the agenda for sabbatical reading. (There's also an early essay that makes me keen to reread LOTR!)
Miscellaneous other light reading: Dani Shapiro's Devotion; Reed Farrel Coleman's Gun Church.