Thursday, June 10, 2010

currently reading... YB + Hornby

currently reading .. poetry, travelogues, and a novel.

before i left for Vienna, i printed the new issue of YB (a journal of new poetry), to take along. it's perfect for a journey. this line from the Sherry O'Keefe poem felt like a travel advice:
"To notice things. To pay attention. Break up my routine."

in Vienna, Karyn and i visited an austrian bookshop, and browsed photo / art books. at the counter, i saw a small paperback: a collection of travelogues, published from the society of the austrian bookshops, in celebration of the "Welttag des Buches" - "world day of the book." what a good idea. the only downer was the cover, which looked dusty and kind of kitsch-romantic-like (here's an image). so it got a brush-up on the postcard-collage-evening, and now is wrapped in the brochure of the "Channels"-exhibition (link). while wrapping the book, i thought of Elfriede Jelinek (Austrian author who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2004, more.) she isn't included in the collection - in a slightly odd way, they only selected male authors, and instead of doing something about it, they added a note in the foreword and confessed that this is a weakness of this selection (and put a woman on the cover..). but back to Jelinek: i read one of her books a while ago, "Wir sind Lockvögel", an experimental text that starts with an instruction for the reader to make the book ones own, to write into it, adjust it, change the title, etc.

connecting to the travel book, Diana had a good travelogue suggestion: a NY Times travel story that reaches from Vienna to Budapest via Bratislava, the city we visited as daytrip. we took the train, the guy in the travelogue went per pedes: "Frugal Europe, on Foot" by Matt Gross, who followed the path of Patrick Leigh Fermor, who walked the tour in 1933, and wrote about it back then. His plan and motivation:

“If I lived on bread and cheese and apples, jogging along on fifty pounds a year like Lord Durham with a few noughts knocked off, there would even be some cash left over for papers and pencils and an occasional mug of beer. A new life! Freedom! Something to write about!”

what struck me was the line from Matt Gross on Vienna: "After two nights in Vienna, I was restless. So I crossed the Danube.." - quite a parallel to my own feeling on the evening of day 2, which then lead to the daytrip to Bratislava.

Diana had brought "A Long Way Down" by Nick Hornby with her, "a perfect read during the flight," she said, and handed it to me. THANKS! it really is a good flight book. (even though the title might make fellow travellers with fear of flying a tad bit nervous).

and it even includes a connecting/counterpart line to Patrick Leigh Fermor, about money and travelling:
"I've never had to worry about money, really. I get my carer's allowance, and I live in my mother's house, and she left me a little bit anyway. And if you never go anywhere or do anything, life is cheap."


Jessie Carty said...

i really wish i had gone to more bookstores when i traveled. my favorites were the anime stores in tokyo. crazy number of titles!

Dorothee Lang said...

abroad bookstores: for me, it's always amazing to see books i know in different languages, and in a different cover. plus, to see all the local books unheard of in other places.