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Sunday, August 09, 2009


You, Me, and the World in the Evening


Books and Films in the Summer of 2009

"Turning and turning, these summer days, to my regret--think of it, half the year is already gone."
---Fujiwara No Teika (1163-1241) Translated by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson

Of course, the late Christopher's Isherwood's "novel The World in the Evening is the source, inspiration, if you will, for the title of this post. Isherwood lived in pre-war Germany for some years and no doubt adapted the name of the newspaper Die Welt Am Abend published by German Communists. A fitting title for Isherwood's book, not as well known as some of his other works. Who can forget Sally Bowles in Goodbye to Berlin which I read long before I came across The World in the Evening.

Now that I am in the evening of my life the name struck a chord. Books are such good companions. Some notable books and films:

The Other by David Guterson
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
An Anthology of Japanese Poetry "From the Country of Eight Islands", Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson

Movies: Broken Embraces
Nora Ephron's - Julie & Julia

Interesting story, David Guterson's The Other. I liked it but I have a feeling that many readers would not care for the wealthy young man who decided to live in seclusion in a cave....and died there.

Found a review of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in The Guardian (UK) , decided to check it out from the library and got hooked. A friend to whom I recommended the book felt the same way. In Lisbeth Salander, the quirky investigator, Larsson has created a fascinating character. Now there is a sequel -- The Girl Who Played With Fire. It is in demand; it would take a month or so before my name comes up in the library's waiting list. Unfortunately, Stieg Larsson died in 2004 at the age of 50.

Reading An Anthology of Japanese Poems. It is a treasure trove.

Yet to see the movies named above. Nora Ephron's film is in local theaters. Hope to catch it when I return from the coast. I am sure that Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces is not going to disappoint. Together, Almodovar and Penelope Cruz have made great films, and this one has received rave reviews in Europe.

Off to Pajaro Dunes on Tuesday for a week at the beach house that my friend JHL rents every summer. The sun could be absent most of the time but that never prevents us from enjoying ourselves. Long walks on the beach; conversations about politics, food, wine, books, work, families, with the magnificent Pacific only about 50 yards away. One can spend hours just looking out of the window. Plan to run a few times during my stay. As they say "slow as molasses"....that's how I feel on some days when I run. Age catching up. But I always return from a run feeling better than I did when I started out.

Enjoy the waning days of summer, doing whatever that gives you pleasure.

"The years and months, reluctantly parted with at any other time,are cast away in ablutions this summer evening."
---Fujiwara No Teika, translated by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson

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