So today I received a pleasant surprise–when I took a look at my cell phone I found a voicemail waiting for me. Now, it would not have been a voicemail at all if I had remembered to turn my phone back on after class yesterday (although, I can’t seem to recognize my ringtone anyway, so it might not have mattered), but as it was, I got to hear the voice of a friend I haven’t talked to for a while. Notice the phrase “I haven’t talked to…” That’s right, I’m taking full responsibility for my hermit-like tendencies. I’m TERRIBLE at keeping in touch with people, although I’m trying to change that. But the last few months of my life have been rather chaotic lately, what with the rather sudden death of my grandfather and my decision to leave five years of funding and a ph.d. program in history to remain in the same zip code as my husband. So listening to the voicemail, emailing her, and then catching up on her blog made me feel like yet another thing has happened that confirms my decision to pursue the twisted, yet ever-surprising, path that I am on.

On top of that, I also reconnected with my Russian “babyshka” today. She is a wonderful woman I met shortly after moving to central New York, and we immediately hit it off. She makes me practice speaking Russian and I get to borrow Russian books from her and ask her all about life in Russia while she cooks me fantastic, traditional Siberian dinners. And now I’ll be able to continue doing that! Next week she’s promised me the Russian edition of Tolstoy’s Resurrection, hurrah! I’m hoping to get my Russian reading skills back up by translating some Tolstoy.

on to much more inconsequential matters….

I have decided that the other reason I love libraries (besides the fact that they’re free) is that they offer me a mini challenge every time I step out of their doors with an armload of books (and yes, with me it’s ALWAYS and armload–and I usually foist some off on my husband as well). We make a weekly trip to our little local library and I come home with an overly ambitious selection every time. So if I’m going to keep track of the books I bring into my home with the intention (however misguided) of reading, I will make a dutiful attempt to catalog the results of my delusion-induced library treks. This weekend I’m looking forward to picking up the following:

  1. Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety (historical fiction about the French Revolution)
  2. Milan Kundera’s The Art of the Novel (I’m on a Kundera-kick)
  3. Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrim’s Progress (because he’s fantastic and fun to read)
  4. Michael Ignatieff’s Isaiah Berlin (because I love a good biography and I’m interested in Berlin in general)
  5. Ann Hood’s The Knitting Circle (which isn’t the kind of fiction that I usually read, but it’s about knitting and grief, and since I’ve used knitting as a sort of meditation for my own grief, I thought I would give it a shot).

The challenge is: I have three weeks (and at the most two renewals) to read all of these (and the 12 other books I have from previous library journeys). Of course, the other danger is that I will become buried in books and unable to dig my way out, although I could think of worse ways to go….


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