Friday I got books in my mail. It’s a good day every time I get books like that, and Friday was extra good because I got two of them and loved both. One of them is Giovanni’s Room, this 1956 tiny novel written so beautifully, a book that everyone seems to know and I didn’t know. The second is something I was curious about and needed at the same time. It’s called Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That, written by Susie Hodge, and it looks at 100 pieces of modern art that were somehow controversial or criticized/misunderstood/ridiculed/you name it, and explains the thoughts behind these pieces, their roles in contemporary art, and how not random they are and all sorts of other things, which makes the book pretty entertaining and also informative. So I woke up this morning and decided I’m not getting out of bed, there’s no need, no rush and no pressure, and I spent some quality time with this book, which is – bonus – printed on good paper, nice to touch and nice to turn.
Weekend was not only with books but also with voting. Romania chose its president on Sunday, and for the first time fraud and arrangements of all sorts – including not letting a good part of the large diaspora vote – did not decide the winner. I felt relief and joy when I heart that our new ethnic german president won. Had Cointreau and watched the news until 3 AM.
This weekend i also took part in this curious project called The Human Library, organized by a friend of mine, Katerina. The idea behind it is to put face to face people that otherwise might never meet and to get them to tell a story otherwise they might not tell. The ‘readers’ can come and ‘rent’ a book, and the book is a person telling a story, their migration story. You can rent a book for 20 minutes and then you have to return it. There were even library forms to fill in!
I thought it was a great idea, the stories opened a conversation. I told about me moving here which seems nothing compared to people fleeing Somalia and Afghanistan. But especially because I’m coming from so ‘close by’, it’s quite interesting to tell about how many stereotypes one can encounter when moving to a new place. And about how that stops the conversation. Anyway, most important realization from that night was about how confrontational it actually feels to tell something personal to a stranger. And have him listen. It made me see that somehow this story is also far from the most important I have to tell. I thought I wanted to write about this in an article, but now I’m not so sure anymore.