Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hie thee hence

Not only did Book Court have Gass’s “On Being Blue” available – I haven’t read it in 20 years -- but they are having a buy two get one free deal for their large collection of NYRB books. A reissue house, this is my favorite imprint of recent years. Unable to resist, I purchased Jean Renoir, Renoir, My Father, Alvaro Mutis, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, and George R. Stewart, Names on the Land, on the history of place-names in the US (for the inner geographer). Among the volumes I saw there, I would highly recommend Patrick Leigh Fermor’s accounts of his travel across Europe by foot in the early ‘30s, and his later accounts of travel in Greece. Extraordinary work, and a most interesting chap himself, ol’ Paddy Fermor, still kicking it last I heard; fluent in Greek, he worked in Nazi-occupied Crete and helped partisans kidnap a German general; the two of them quoted the ancients back at each other, in the original, of course, in the rugged mountains. (Yesterday I heard a report from Iraq; the American “nickname” for one of the Iraqis the US soldiers were dealing with was “Steve.”) There’s a movie about the incident with Dirk Bogard, Ill Met by Moonlight, that I’ve never seen it, even though it’s by favorites Powell & Pressburger.

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