Well, we’re into December. The homestretch of 2017. It was a week full of work, since I work a lot of extra hours in December, and I always get confused as to what day it is. It always feels like I have multiple working Saturdays in a row, and then all of a sudden, it’s Monday. But I’ve been at work the whole time.
Anywho. I feel like I’ve already summed up the week with my November Summary, but here’s the week in review:
This week’s read was Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman. I went into it thinking that it would be a collection of travel essays akin to Pico Iyer’s, but it had more to do with Aciman’s experiences as an exile and refugee, traveling through Europe and then to America with no real home to reminisce about and memories of cities he can’t decide if he loved or hated. I was not aware when I started reading, but Aciman wrote the book, Call Me By Your Name, which has a film based upon it that just came out starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet (who was also in Lady Bird). Critics have been calling it a masterpiece, and I am hoping that it comes to one of the theaters here in town.
In other book news, I am still waiting for two of my books to arrive from abebooks.com sellers. I placed the initial order of four books on November 17. Two of them, Travels with Herodotus and Arresting God in Kathmandu came from the same shop, which botched the shipping label which made the package undeliverable, so it was sent back to the seller. They canceled the order and issued me a refund, so I reordered both books from a different seller. According to the tracking information, I should have received the books today. I did not. And, in fact, the tracking information says that the shipping label has been created, and that USPS has been awaiting the package since November 28th. So I have no idea where my order is, or when it might arrive. If I end up having to reorder the books again, I may scream.
(Will you allow me to complain for a bit, because I would have thought that at least one of the sellers would have been able to put two books into a box, print out a shipping label, and then drop it off at the post office without major incident. It’s not that hard. Millions of people do it every day….)
So. Of the four books that I ordered back on November 17th, I have received two of them: A Collection of Uzbek Short Stories translated by Mahmuda Saydumarova and My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio Pron.
These titles are among the many I plan to read in 2018 for my Year of Reading the World, inspired by Ann Morgan. I had though that she had finished the project and her blog back in 2012, and so I hadn’t looked for it, but it turns out that she is still working to get books from around the world translated and published in English so that more people might hear stories from overlooked regions, and come to know the world better. I am slowly working my way backwards through her blog, A Year of Reading the World.
My current read is The Dictionary of the Khazars by the Serbian author, Milorad Pavić. I had been reading Little Black Book of Stories by A.S. Byatt, but in spite of the elegant writing, I just couldn’t get into the stories. It has been sitting on my nightstand all month, and I barely made it halfway through, and that with some concerted effort in the past few days. So that one will be going into the pile of books I will take into the used bookshop one of these days.
And one final thing.
I was listening to the soundtrack of the movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug while driving to and from my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and I would continuously hit repeat to keep hearing the song, ‘Feast of Starlight’, and it’s been in my head ever since. I don’t really care about the made up character of Tauriel, or her made up relationship with Kili. But as far as I’m concerned, the existence of the love theme from The Desolation of Smaug justifies the whole film trilogy.