1. After four hours' sleep, even a breathless gallop up the hill to the station by no means ensures that I will make this train. But I do, and unable to keep my bleary eyes open I turn to my iPod and listen to Joshua Ferris reading out a chilling and cleverly allegorical story by George Saunders. I love these New Yorker Fiction podcasts: they feel like bite-sized pieces of an MFA in Creative Writing.
2. Across from us on the train, a blond, blue-eyed baby boy gurgles and giggles in the arms of his attentive father.
3. Books, books, books: Amsterdam is full of bookshops. I come home laden down with American magazines and new stories to sink into over this quiet part of my year.