Thursday, April 8, 2010

A world, a whole world!

Here's something that blows my mind: There are other countries out there. Like, a lot of them.

Okay, wait, before every single one of my history and social studies teachers and my British girlfriend team up to beat some sense into me, let me explain a little bit.

I'm a pretty well-read guy. I was a literature major in college and, well, I work at a bookstore. I've read books from all different time periods. If you're talking Homer to Marlowe to Austen to Faulkner to Boyle, I can deal with it. I would even hazard to say that I'm in the know when it comes to books.

But then I discover this guy named Javier Marias who writes sentences that make me want to either cry or hug the earth for being so beautiful. And no one else here knows about him.

But Javier Marias is not some unknown. He's not a random hermit sitting in a garage printing his own books and leaving them on park benches. In fact, all of Spain has scooped me by a few decades here, considering him one of their national treasures and all of that.

And here's where it blows my mind: There are so many countries in the world, and each one of them has their own Javier Marias, followed by thousands of lesser-known writers whose names I will never hear, but who are probably also doing things with words that would make me cry, if only I could understand them.

Every day I work I find another book I want. There are far too many for a lifetime. But even so, that's just a fraction, just a thumbnail on the collective body of world literature. It's only the books that are translated in English that I happen to find.

How can that be anything but amazing?

P.S. Really, Javier Marias is awesome. Seriously.

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