myreadingexperience

Last week, looking through my books, I randomly chose A thief’s journal by Jean Genet, which surprised me much - I don’t know what I was expecting but certainly not this narrative of immorality, vagabonding, homelessness, dirt and begging - although it can’t keep me reading for long. At the library, I jumped on Out of Africa by Karen Blixen, which kept me busy for a few days with beautiful descriptions and interesting cultural perspectives. 

Read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. An amazing work of a book. Never seen such style, such force. It’s the second or so book that made me think wow, I didn’t know you could do that with literature. It’s really a lesson in writing, a lesson in story-telling. The way the six stories meet & complete one another, together with their all over complexity & symbols make it a book that leaves you satiated. 

As it is quite obvious, travelling, I did not read much. The only book I finished was Je suis nee au harem, by Choga Regina Egbeme. It was a beautiful story, easy enough to understand in French, regarding the life of a girl born in a harem and later on married by force to a man. It gave insight to what life can be like in Nigeria, the goods and the not-so goods. 

From time to time I read pages of On the Road, by Kerouac, and sometimes I wanted to read some from At the cafe, by Errico Malatesta, but couldn’t find it in the mess that the car was. 

Most of the time, however, I had not a second to read. Always thinking where to go, what to do, what to see, where to sleep, whom to meet, what to eat, how to be, live, enjoy. Metaphorically, though, I did read some pages from the book of life, I did gain knowledge from people I met - some whom were amazing people, others, amazingly generous -, I did get an idea of how the world works. And it’s crucial - what I see now, after travelling (only for three months, thorough help exchange and couch-surfing), is that being on one’s one, outside of one’s country, with little familiarity to the language or culture is essential not only to understanding, at least a bit, of the world, but to understanding your own country, culture, and self, better. 

Although I’m traveling and have no time to read, my fascination for books is never-ending: I see them wherever I go and I want to devour their words. In Germany or Austria, I would be mad at myself sometimes that I don’t know German just because I couldn’t read all those wonderful books. In France I read everything - I love it when I actually understand the language. On Saturday I was very much happy - I bought some books from the Marche du Livres. 

Contes Curieux I didn’t manage to finish, sadly, but maybe someday I will stumble upon it again.

What I can say is that reading actually improves traveling, because when you read, you go into another world, then you stop reading and come back, and you realize you’re not home, but in some other fascinating place in this world.