Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Serendipitous Settings

Now that school's over I'd like to focus on reading. I say like to instead of offering any more commitment because my life has been chaotic lately. I, and I'm sure many of you bookish folks, would agree, don't usually love chaotic. But right now it's fun, and the unknown isn't as scary. I'm waiting to hear back from a few internships and just came back from a weekend in Boston!
Which is actually why I'm writing this post.

As part of a new kind of reading challenge I'm doing a check list instead of reading to a book count. One of those checks is a book in a forgien language.

Now I'd just recently watched a Ted Talk with Elif Shafak and immediately knew i wanted to use one of her novels for this challenge. My local bookstore only had Bastard of Istanbul (which she wrote in English) and The Forty Rules of Love, which i bought after trying to clarify that it was written in Turkish (I'm still not sure. Shhh)

Anyway, Forty Rules sat at the bottom of my TBR pile for about a month. I didn't touch it during the readathon, and after I started a large Murakami (again for this challenge) instead of diving into a more digestible novel.

I finally packed it in my bag for an early Saturday flight to Boston and immediately knew I made the right choice. The main character lives just outside of Boston, and while this setting isn't relevant to the story other than to show a distance between 2008 America and 13th century Turkey I clung to it.
You see I don't know much about Rumi, and while I hate to admit it I'm fairly ignorant of most customs of Islam. I'd jumped so far out of my comfort zone that I had to claw at the one thing that felt like home when my head was swimming with religious passages.

In the bookish side of the internet we talk a lot about how books change us, or how we find them at the right time. I don't know that I learned more about myself here, or that I am changed by Shafak's story. However I do know that this small setting, just outside of Boston, kept me reading even when I wasn't sure I wanted to finish. It gave me a connection sometimes that's all a reader needs.

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