16 January 2021

A Reading Diary: A Year of Favourite Books

A Reading Diary: A Year Of Favourite BooksA Reading Diary: A Year Of Favourite Books by Alberto Manguel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book.

It looks deceptively simple. The author reads 12 favourite books, one each month, and keeps a diary of the thoughts he has while reading them. Some thoughts are relevant, inspired by the book, and others come from current events, near or far, foreign or domestic.

The cat has not come to be fed for three days now.

But how often, when reading, does a book not inspire thoughts, some worth recording, perhaps, and some not? This is a book of such thoughts.

The cat returned during the night.

In another place there are thoughts inspired by waiting for, and during the Second Iraqi-American War of 2003. Some thoughts seem trivial, like the ones about the cat, while others are profound, but even the ones about the cat spark of my own thoughts and memories of cats I have known.

Silvia, my old schoolmate, tells me that in my school is a plaque to the students murdered by the military. She says I'll recognize several names.

Of the twelve books Alberto Manguel read I had read only two: Kim and The Wind in the Willows; my review of Kim is here Kim revisited: imperialism, Russophobia & asceticism.

Today, at breakfast, my brother tells me that "only" ten percent of the judiciary system is corrupt. "Of course," he adds, "excluding the Supreme Court, where every single member is venal.

While typing that I am listening to Peter, Paul and Mary singing "...and if you take my hand my son, all will be well when the day is done" and I am transported 1500 km away and 50 years back to Windhoek, St George's Church Hall, where Cathy Roark (now Cathy Wood) is teaching that song to the confirmation class, and I wonder where they are today. Not many murdered by the military, perhaps, but some forced into the military to kill.

Half an hour later I pick up Kim where I left off reading yesterday and find these word spoken by the Lama: "Thou hast loosed an Act upon the world. and as a stone thrown into a pool so spread the consequences thou canst not tell how far.

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