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Congratulations! Not just for making it through but for excelling into the bargain.
Sucks that your family got stuck, but smile-inducing that the restaurant have offered you dinner.
So they don't capitalise titles in Dutch? Anyway, milk it.
Hello I said!
Halfway through January and I'm still trying to internalise that 2017 actually happened. I'm beginning to acknowledge that things as they currently are are a bit ridiculous. Last year it was my intention to stay at home and use the tremendous amounts of downtime at my disposal for two particular things - learning to drive, and writing the book about my walk. An entire year has gone by without measurable progress on either of these things. I'm not here to be a downer, though - a bunch of good things happened and some productive things too. But in general, when they write my biographies, 2017 will be a short chapter.
So we look with renewed determination at 2018! One thing is certain: I gotta leave home. There are a lot of attractive things about my town - easy accommodation, familiarity, a sense of being part of the community. But I need to at least get some proper full time work and to be somewhere where things are happening and where there are people my own age. I'm terribly conscious of the fact that I'm getting older.
But before I leave home, I want those two tasks accomplished or mostly so - the driving, and the book. It's getting increasingly sillier not being able to drive (when I have to tell people, they look at me as if I never learned to read or how to count), and as for the book, no-one wants to read about something like that if it happened fifteen years ago. Shit or get off the pot time, boys!
I do have a wee project for the summer, too - time to get those bare feet back out - but I'll leave mentioning it here till Pubski next.
I went up to Dublin this weekend to a going-away party - a couple of friends are moving to Canada this week, and they'll probably be gone for the next couple of years. A little sad, but it was good fun. I accidentally ended up drinking the night before with a bunch of other Dublin friends, though, and between the two I was feeling rightly used up when I landed home. Which is a good sign, even if my memory is a tad hazy.
So my sister got me a Kobo ereader for Christmas as I mentioned somewhere else around here, and it's fantastic - you can store a needlessly large amount of books in the space of less than a single volume. I've already been reading a bit more - just finished blasting through The Princess Bride today and I have to say I love it as much as I do the movie. Gravity's Rainbow, in paperback form, is sitting on the bedside table and being much more slowly chewed through.
But it has changed how I buy books. Now, I would almost never buy new books anyway, unless I really wanted something and it was impossible to find secondhand. But most of the books I read come off of a large and vague mental list of titles and authors that I've heard of or had recommended, and I would mainly browse through second-hand bookstores and pick up cheap copies of one of these. (As an aside, I've been thinking lately of the dangers of forming a sort of "reading bubble" around oneself. Food for thought.)
Well, I was in Dublin visiting Chapters, with its labyrinthine used book section upstairs, and doing exactly that. With one difference - I kept Library Genesis open on my phone. If there's an epub available, I ain't buyin'. I'd feel less guilty if I was in the 'new' section.
A quick check tells me that in the last years I've spent less than €80 per annum on books, which is a pittance considering that my to-read pile, though by no means massive, has never actually decreased in size. I'm beginning to think I will start spending even less.
What are people's feelings regarding piracy of books?
In other ereader related news - I will start a newsletter to keep ye up to date - my sister also ordered a case for it, which failed to arrive after several weeks. She discovered that the listing had disappeared and contacted the seller, who failed to respond, and decided to just get the money back through PayPal. This was rather a stroke of luck, because I discovered she'd bought one for the wrong version, and ordered another of the correct size. Days later the first one arrives. Oops. But it doesn't fit, because it's for the Aura Edition 2 model, which is very slightly different in shape.
I'm not surprised she made this mistake; after looking it up, I can now present to you in chronological order the release schedule of the Kobo Aura line of ereaders over the last four years:
Kobo Aura HD
Kobo Aura H2O
Kobo Aura Edition 2
Kobo Aura One
Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2
Confusing. This is almost as bad as Nintendo with the DS family.
And with that I must leave you, my comrades, and go for a cigarette, because obviously I haven't actually quit smoking.
It's like watching people sailing away on magical yachts while you're stuck eating coconuts on the desert island.
I only started reading consistently again very recently. Hoping to do a lot more in the next year - which might well be easier since my sister bought me a Kobo Aura for Christmas. It's class. I mean, I love physical books - but you can store so many on such a small device, it's easy to find free copies of a lot of books, and you can read with one hand! The minimalist in me is in love.
Currently I'm reading All Quiet on the Western Front on the Kobo. I'm not even sure why , it just seemed like a short, well-known read to put away. I think, though, that we're way over-exposed to depictions of WWI, so it's not exactly as shocking as it may have been in the past.
Reading over the last while:
Dubliners by James Joyce. I have an irrational hatred of Joyce, though I did rather enjoy seeing something of the old Dublin spirit. It makes me wonder about Irish literature in general; I suppose I haven't actually read much, but sometimes I feel like the Irishness is pumped up to the max.
Stráinséirí (Strangers) by Colmán Ó Raghallaigh. I had to buy this when I found it in a second hand shop because it was actually written by a man from my town! He's a well-known Irish author, but this is the first time I've read any of his work. It's fairly short and fairly simple, a story about two schoolgirls, one of whom is a traveller (i.e. Irish gypsy), and some problems that arise in the community as a result of their friendship.
HHhH by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor. First book I read on the Kobo, and I absolutely zoomed through it. It was nice to read something relatively new after mostly reading older books for some time. A sort of meta-historical-novel about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, with a lot of little tangents about the author writing the book itself. Maybe a bit much for some tastes, but I did enjoy it.
Narziss and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse, translated by Geoffrey Dunlop. A book that a friend of mine loves and I found a second hand copy with a mysterious inscription, so now it is precious to me. My first exposure to Hesse. I'm not really sure about novels set in a different point of time - you always feel like they just don't quite ring true - but it was interesting, the question of which of two conflicting natures to follow.
Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac. Can't remember who translated this. I actually really liked it. Something about the ridiculous French high society is always appealing, even sadistically.