Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Temporarily in-country 

I have 24 hours at home between family vacations. Just enough time to switch out books (and try to wash ten days of African dust from a couple T-shirts and khakis).

I went to England for a friend's wedding. I played piano and sang for the processional and recessional then left before the reception (I'm so sorry, Pam!) for the airport. I spent almost two weeks with my family (husband plus parents, brother, and brother's fiance) in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

We flew on tiny planes within Africa (one only had 5 passanger seats, so one of us sat in the vacant copilot's seat). This meant a weight restriction on luggage. This meant a restriction on the number of books I could bring. Especially since I like to buy books from countries I visit as souvinirs, so I needed a few pounds of leeway.

So I brought books that either read slowly or had tiny print. Hannah Arendt's On Violence read slowly. So did Konrad Lorenz's King Solomon's Ring. Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene went slow enough - I could have read it much faster had I not been mentally parsing every reference to Lorenz's On Aggression, trying to isolate what the man who coined the term "meme" actually meant by it (ignoring how it's often oversimplified or misunderstood, and also how the concept has developed in the past 20 years).

On the 18 hour journey home, I read Leon Uris's Mila 18 cover to cover (not the best book to read while traversing multiple security checkpoints). Sadly, it ended just as I expected it to. (I gave my husband periodic updates every 100 pages. Then every 20 pages as I neared the end. "Not everyone's dead yet!").

I have no weight restrictions on my next trip.

Mila 18 has a number of interesting characters - including Gabriella the Schmeisser.
I seem to recall her failing at the worst possible moment.

"No one ever really wins in his life. All you have the right to ask of life is to choose a battle in this war, make the best you can, and leave the field with honor."

Which character are you most like, in your estimation? I'd like to be Gaby, but there's no way I'd get a guy like Andrei. I'm nowhere near forward enough. Unfortunately, I think I'm Deborah.
You already have a much more impressive man in your life, Alan.
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