Monday, November 12, 2007

The damned Lag

It has been an exhausting day back here in New Albany. My body still undulates to African currents and I am grateful that many have apparently reached out to help as my wife and I were five thousand miles away. I should begin any analysis with the observation that my wife picked better books for the trips than I. I read the Goytisolo on Saturday and I can't begin to imagine a better book to ponder while whiling away the last morning of a trip to Marrakech. It is by blind fancy that Ed posted a link to a story the day before in samizdat about tribalism in the EU and how tensions between turks and kurds in many countries have become inflamed because of recent escalations and conflict in both Turkey and northern Iraq. Goytisolo fashions a poem of which reconciles the the siege of Sarajevo, the Spanish Civil War and a sinuous path of poetry and eschatological musing over the past two thousand years. That said, I don't recall seeing any holy men in the Medina, only a stunning dearth of beer.

It was a good opportunity to finally read Wilkie Collins, though not the novel I wanted, and then Stendhal, though Charterhouse doesn't begin to stand with Scarlet and the Black. I did like the section on Waterloo. My three hundred pages of Middle march did push me to learn more about the Reform Act of 1832.

After some much deserved pivo in Reading with my brother-in-law I needed books for the return flight across the Atlantic and I picked up Tom Holland's superb Persian Fire about the Persian wars and their precedents. Much of the work proved redundant, but I do appreciate Holland's pacing, though I am not sure i liked the book as much as I did Rubicon.


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