Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Currently Reading

A few minutes into my commute home this evening I finish the story I'm reading (Avrom Reyzen's "Gvirishe Matse" from his collection Lider, Dertseylungen, Zikhroynes), and while I do have a book in my bag, it is one I've already read and am returning to the library on my way home.

But no worries! I always have my palm pilot with me to get me through just such inkless moments, and I have another 100 pages of Moby Dick to get through. I love reading big books on my tiny palm pilot. It makes me feel particularly geeky. Reach into my bag for my palm pilot... not where it usually is... not in the other pocket... left it at home, it seems. At least, my cell phone isn't there either, so presumably I left both of them charging on my desk. Just when I need it! How irritating. Fume my way through the rest of my commute. I mean, how can a person go 40 minutes without some text? I start looking over the shoulder of the student beside me: she is reading about speciation in a particular kind of conifer. It works for a few minutes, but she reads too slowly and never gets around to turning the page. Oh, I get it. She's not reading, she's studying. We are already at mid-terms. She is committing the speciation of conifers to memory. The guy across the aisle has a newspaper but I don't see a spare section I can ask for. He is going through it very systematically as well, not a good sign in terms of sharing.

I get off the bus at Main and Hastings and walk over to the Carnegie Library. I return my book and ask the fellow to check if my holds have come in. Two have! They are The Myth of Mars and Venus, yet another linguistics book, and, you probably won't believe this, Reader, but the other book is Duma Key by Stephen King. I have never read a Stephen King novel before but something about the reviews for this one made me curious. And the great thing is, if you read American reviews before the Canadian edition has come out, you can get on the hold list early on. So now I have this 600-page hardcover novel to haul around, just when I was congratulating myself on reading big books in a more convenient format. Still, my first Stephen King novel. I will keep you posted.

I know there is still one question in your mind, and I should answer it before I go to bed. Your question is, I assume, "How was the Reyzen story?" Well, I'm so glad you asked, because it was really interesting. It is set in a matzoh factory in, one assumes, Belarus. The workers are excited because the richest woman in town is coming to bake her matzohs at their factory. This is a tradition, for those who have the time and money, where you can actually go into the matzoh factory and take part in baking some matzohs so your Passover table will be graced with the fruits of your own labour. (Perhaps the Chocolate Lady can give us more input on this custom.) Anyway, the bigshot lady is coming to bake her matzohs, she's coming to bake her matzohs--they are all excited about the prospect of the tip she will leave them and the new silk kerchief they can buy for Passover... well, I won't give the whole story away, but suffice to say that Avrom Reyzen knew a thing or two about class struggle.

1 comment:

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

Yes, I know nothing causes panic like those textless minutes.

Certain groups still do participate in their own matzo baking--but now it is more usually the elite in learning rather than cash. I wrote a bit about this in "Holy Rolling" (In the Jews of Brooklyn book). At one point the factory was taken over by a yeshiva. It got really crowded.