Notes away from home

Knowing I'd be flying BA, I actually went as far as not packing anything to read! Passing Steimatzky's in the airport, I was nearly tempted to buy a Cosmo, just in case. But didn't. And did not regret it.

I actually enjoy flying BA. I swear I'm not being paid to say so. Aside from the friendly crew and the half-decent food (as airline food goes) and the choice of free red or white wine with the meal, I enjoy the in-flight entertainment program. There's a huge choice of music of every type, and a terrific choice of movies, both old and new, as well as TV shows & series. And more stuff that I can't say much about because I've never bothered trying.

But once we're comfortably settled in our New Eltham home, it's a different story. I can't possibly fall asleep at night without reading. A newspaper doesn't qualify – too unwieldy.

I packed in my suitcase a book I received by special delivery the very day of our flight: How My Mother Accidentally Tossed Out my Entire Baseball-Card Collection (and Other Sports Stories) by the writer and self-proclaimed sports fanatic Bob Mitchell. Bob is the gifted guy who is editing the book I recently translated – Vered Mosenzon's The Yellow Toolbox. Actually, he has just finished editing it. I'm dying to see what he's done with it, but have had to concentrate on more urgent things. I've just started the book; not sure how much sports-related stories I can take per day.

Bob suggested that I start with an essay called How Do I Hate Thee? which describes his love-hate, or admiration-hate relationship with the winning teams and sports stars who beat his home-team. My lack of familiarity with American sports put a damper on this one. The only names I recognized were Jackie Robinson, King Lear and Oedipus. (You wanna know how they fit in? Read the book.)

The second essay Bob recommended, with good reason, was The King of Ibn Gvirol, describing Bob's rollerblading days in Tel Aviv of 1994. That was actually a very colorful and spirited description. And, knowing Tel Aviv, I could actually see the scene in my mind's eye. For example:
"On top of it all, Israeli drivers are pretty possessive about their own space. They see pedestrians as obstacles; so when they see a crazy, cockamamey blader, in full regalia (funky wraparound sunglasses, neon-green kneepads, purple handguards, purple shorts and matching Williams College T-shirt), well, they see red."

Yesterday, among other errands, we stopped at our fave bookstore, Waterstones. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, it's hopeless. You strain your neck looking sideways at book spines, you read name after name, catchy or kooky title after title, each trying to be more unique, titillating and witty than the other, and you end up too confused to make a decision. And so it happened that my husband chose a couple of fantasy books by a writer he likes, Raymond E. Feist; and I played it safe and bought a Graham GreeneStamboul Train. And for a lark we also bought The QI Book of General Ignorance, with a foreword by Stephen Fry and four words by Alan Davies.

With this happy thought I leave you guys for now.


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