Thursday, December 31, 2015

what shall I read?

What shall I read while en route to or in Iceland? Today I will finish "1954," a fine book by Bill Madden about that year and baseball and integration and other stuff. It will have been the thirteenth book I read in 2015. When I told my coffee-shop friend Bill B. that I was going to Iceland, right away he told me he had read two books by Icelander Halldor Laxness, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955. Bill is admirably well read. I bow before him. So today I went to the DeWitt branch of the Onondaga County Public Library with the hope of securing a Laxness tome. No such luck. Instead, I came away with Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov and Mr. Bones by Paul Theroux. I was inspired to pick up the Nabokov because I had just finished an article in The New Yorker about his letters to his wife, Vera. I chose Theroux because he is such an acclaimed travel writer, though this is a collection of twenty short stories (fiction). I will begin one of these books tonight, Deo volente, and will likely continue one of these books on my flight to Reykjavik. Come to think of it, it will make much more sense to buy a Laxness volume in Reykjavik, maybe in his native tongue or maybe in English. I cherish in advance a lovely bookstore in the world's most northern capital city. There's a selfish motive involved here: imagine how impressed the lovely woman sitting across from me at the cafe will be when I breezily mention Laxness or if she sees me reading one of his works (if it's the Icelandic version I will be faking it; but they say "fake it till you make it").

p.s. Thank you, Wikipedia, for the aural pronunciation of the author of Lolita. iIve had it mostly right all these years, while other pronunciations I've heard over the years were not quite on the mark, which is fine. 

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