he fixes radios by thinking!

so of course, after sending out a distress call for reading suggestions, i received a box of books i sent to myself from brooklyn yesterday. it was like my birthday all over again. except better. as is always the case when i amass much reading material, ADD sets in, and i find myself distracted from my primary focus (which, at the moment, is philip gourevitch’s “we wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families”). last night, i picked up marjane satrapi’s “persepolis” and, try as i might, couldn’t put it down until i had turned the very last page, looked for more to read under the book jacket and even resorted to reading the cover praise — so, so good was this graphic memoir. i don’t remember if it was in the nytimes that i’d read about the death of the novel and the rise of the graphic novel, but i definitely see a case for that here. there’s something about the pictorial element in these that offers a more potent, visceral, heightened reading experience for me.

what’s up with all my interest in rwanda and iran? i think it has everything to do with being in italy, perhaps being closer to conflict and amongst people who care very much about what is going on elsewhere in the world. maybe it’s because i’m no longer moored on an island (or even: an island-within-and-island) that permits one to become inured — blind, deaf, and dumb — to the plight of other peoples. (maybe it goes without saying that trying so hard to ignore the homeless and crazies in new york city makes it even more difficult to see what’s going on further out there.) it’s so, so easy to be a complacent citizen of the Uninformed States of Apathy, and when i’m there, i like to wrap myself up tight, cocoon-like, in my ignorance and self-absorption. not so easy here. not so many distractions.

just thinking aloud.

the title of this post is taken from “surely you’re joking, mr. feynman”, which i just began last night.


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