El Ateneo theater-converted-to-a-bookstore in Buenos Aries
My interest in reading has ebbed and flowed in the past two decades. During my sophomore year of high school, I read over 100 books, and began to amass a personal library of over 1000 titles, most of which are now sold off. After high school, I began to feel the weight of knowledge in an unhealthy way, so I distanced myself from reading for several years. Later, while studying theology and education, I had to time to read little else than what was required.
After university, I joined the Albina Literary Society, a dedicated group of scholars who meet monthly in NE Portland to discuss literature of all sorts, and who graciously invited Bethany and me to join their rich discussions. It’s delighting to share a text with people I trust; reading in community always enhances my literary experience.
Reading while travelling has been rewarding as well. I’ve had quite a bit of time to read, more than I originally thought. In Argentina for instance, there was nothing better than waking up at 11:00 am (early for an Argentine) strolling down to the local cafe, ordering a coffee, a beer, and an ice bucket, and reading until 2:00 in the afternoon. I was in good company among the other cafe readers. Other times, books helped pass the time on long bus rides, plane trips, and ferries.
Sometimes, I intentionally picked titles that were strongly connected to the place we were visiting. I reread Borges in Buenos Aries. I read “From Beirut to Jerusalem” in Lebanon. And I picked up a biography of Pol Pot in Cambodia.
Other times, I was at the mercy of whatever was available at the local book exchange. Sometimes, I was lucky, like with “The Catcher and the Rye.” Other times, not so much, as with “Prodigal Summer.”
Here, I’m going to share as briefly as possible about some of the books that I read, and what I thought of them in the context of my travels. Enjoy!
This post is dedicated to the Albina Literary Society, and to Professor Domani Pothen, who in one way or another impacted us all.
The Hunger Games Trilogy
by: Suzanne Collins
I promised several people I would read these books before watching the first movie. Sure enough, I started our trip by getting in touch with my inner teenager. Pure entertainment. I learned very little. But I DID learn more about what teenagers go through in school. As one commentator wrote, the books seem to be a metaphor for the brutal, competitive, real-life games young people feel forced to play every day in order to survive adolescence. I tend to agree. Either way, the books are brilliant. I may even have finished all three within 48 hours, start to finish. Recommended Continue Reading…