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Reading in the Rain

I spent the most enjoyable day today. From late morning until evening, I sat out on my porch, surrounded by my potted plants, and read and read and read and read. This would have been enjoyable any day, but today was particularly peaceful. Today it was cool and rainy.

My porch is only about four feet by four feet, but it has its own little roof. So if there isn’t any wind, I can sit out there even in the rain and not get wet. Today was just such a day. I took a pillow and blanket and mug of hot tea out with me and read for hours, breaking only for lunch. I got most of two books read (Carleton’s Common Reading books, which the campus will be discussing this week), plus several issues of Walt Crawford’s Cites & Insights.

Persepolis and Persepolis II are proving me wrong once again. I must admit: I was skeptical. I’ve never read a graphic novel before, and I was worried tha the nature of the medium might simultaneously overpower and undermine the message of the books. Nothing could be further from the truth. The stories are engrossing, and the medium heightens the sense that these are one individual’s stories rather than some mass-produced, stereotypical rendition of Iranian existence.

It’s this same “personal touch” (to say nothing of insightful content) that drew me into Cites & Insights. I commend the last issue (6:11) and issue 6:9 to your attention especially. (This is not because issue 10 is less remarkable, but because it has received more “press” recently.) In this age of polarization, when people are often more concerned with demarcation and difference than with similarity and cooperation, when politicians struggle to distance themselves from their opponents rather than learn from them, and when librarians often either cling to or shun the past rather than carry the best of the past forward and re-mix it into the future, in such an environment of “either/or,” Walt’s call for balance is both timely and appreciated.

The reading hours would have flown by even faster than they did if Pippin (my cat) hadn’t insisted on throwing himself against the porch screens in a vain attempt to join me (an action which, in turn, forced me to keep a screwdriver handy so that I could re-attach the screens to the frame every half-hour or so).

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