Tuesday, March 11, 2008

cause i am like east berlin

I went to the Chicago Public Library downtown tonight; while I admire the library system here for their dedication to community accessibility and growth, I still freakin' hate that downtown branch. I've written before about how nearly every book I've ever tried to find there is listed as being available but is in reality mired in the several-week dead zone that comes between being checked in and actually being on the shelf. Tonight it was Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran, by Fatemeh Keshavarz, which is supposedly an indictment of Reading Lolita in Tehran, a book I unabashedly love for it's beauty and struggle and because it makes me believe in books again. I don't know much about the Islamic Revolution (only what I've read in Reading Lolita and Persepolis really) and I'm actually quite excited to learn a little more through this book, although I'm also afraid that it will ruin the other book for me. But if so, I suppose that's the way it goes.
Except it wasn't there tonight. I ended up with a book of Rumi's poetry and Pam Houston's autobiographical collection of essays, A Little More About Me. I just finished Cowboys Are My Weakness for the umpteenth-billion time and I re-read Waltzing the Cat more recently than I'd care to admit, and even though many of the essays in this book are more than a little reminiscent of her fiction I decided I needed a little more. It's been making me a little homesick, frankly, but for things I've never really seen or done. Trails I've never hiked, mountains I've never seen, rivers I've never stepped foot in... It's making me want to pick up and return to somewhere, only I don't know where or how or even if I really would if I knew the answers to the previous questions.

2 comments:

erica said...

wow, i never realized pam houston held on to your consciousness quite like that! and i'm really curious about reading more than... --i was somewhat ambivalent about reading lolita--i think i wanted to like it a lot more than i did, but didn't end up finding it that convincing, and i don't know if that was because of language or thematics (i thought it was kind of dryly written, in general). i guess i was skeptical of the idea that western literature was part of a solution? though i will say that for me, in my time and place, pam houston certainly helps many things :)

ammie said...

Yeah, I'm not sure why she does... I don't have that many books around that make me laugh, but she does so maybe I read her more than I otherwise might. Plus she's easy to live vicariously through :) I think I like Lolita for the same reasons I always cry when I watch Pleasantville; it always really inspires me to see people appreciating what most people seem to take for granted, like great literature or art. It really moved me to read about Iranian students taking such a vivid interest in Jane Austin. Anyway, that's all...