Tuesday, April 2, 2019

There's That Sorted

Today was our 'big shop' day, in which we topped up supplies of a few heavy staple foods (canned beans, canned and frozen fruit, strong wholemeal flour, frozen veg, etc). One never knows whether or not items will be in stock, but we found most of what we wanted today. And we can always pick up the frozen blueberries some other time. I was organized, with a list for Lidl and one for Aldi. I make my lists in the order in which things are shelved in the store, so we don't have to spend time wandering back and forth--we like to get in and out. Some things were on both lists, so I could make sure to get them in one place, in case they weren't in another--prices are mostly the same in each place. In both stores, just as we were coming up to the till with the full trolley, there was an announcement that they were opening till #3, so we moved over to that. Funny that it was the same number in both stores.

We rode with a friend who was going to pick up some stuff too, and it was nice to have time to chat and to not carry a heavy load home. It's a weird weather day--one minute sunny and warm and the next hail, rain and a few degrees cooler.

Stopped at the library, returned a few books and picked up one I had in. Before I start that one, I have a few that I picked up last week to read. I will be starting one in a while, now that I'm home and the groceries have been put away. I picked up a quiche at Aldi and we'll have that for supper, with veggie sausage and fruit, so it'll be quick.

 I know there are several people in the queue for one of the books I returned today, so I'm glad it can be passed along to the next person.
The Border: The Legacy of a Century of Anglo-Irish Politics by Diarmaid Ferriter
This is a timely book by a well-respected Irish historian whose work I find quite useful and informative, so when I first read about it, I immediately went to the library and put myself in the queue. It arrived quite a bit earlier than I expected it to--one morning, I was at #45 and by that afternoon, after we’d picked up other books at the library, it was in. They had a lot of  copies, so things moved quickly. I’m glad it came when it did, given the current drama surrounding Brexit. Since the border between Northern Ireland and the republic is one of the major issues, it was good to be able to read this now and see how things have evolved in the (almost) century of its existence. In terms of the EU-third country border that it will become if and when Brexit happens, there is more border on this island than at the eastern flank of the EU. I’ve had people tell me, and Ferriter bears this out, as do circumstances as they unfold, that there is a lack of interest and knowledge about Northern Ireland on the part of people on the ‘mainland’ UK in general and those running the country. I have a better understanding of the border now and how it has evolved.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors translated by Misha Hoekstra
I’d seen this author interviewed on a you tube channel called The Louisiana Channel, which is all about artists of various kinds, including writers. I think it is from The Netherlands, but not sure. I read this interview, because the author is Danish. She was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize with this book, which is a bit strange, but quite good. In it, Sonja is in her 40s, a translator of violent Swedish crime novels into Danish, living in Copenhagen, learning to drive, and trying to repair her relationship with her estranged sister, who still lives in the rural area in which they grew up. Sonja finds urban life to be quite unsatisfactory and she is very lonely. The reader watches her as she searches for herself, sometimes in her own head and sometimes in her interactions with the people around her--her two driving instructors, her massage therapist, and unsent letters to her sister.

Karate Chop by Dorthe Nors translated by Martin Aitkin
This was the first of the author’s books to be translated into English. I’m a big short story fan, so when I heard the interview with her and looked her up, I was happy to find this in the library system. I must admit, though, that I liked the novel better in some ways. These stories are powerful, direct, well-written, and spare, but also unsettling and even disturbing, in some cases--or at least I found them so. When I was done, I clicked around to see what was written about this book and I found an interview she’d done back in 2014 with The Paris Review. In it, she talked about the title of the book, among many other things. In Danish, her native language, the title is, Kantslag, which has four meanings. One is a karate chop. Another is a rimshot against a drum. A third is a chip that breaks off a piece of porcelain. The last one is ‘the battle you experience on the brink of something new.’ She says it is this last meaning that she was thinking about when she gave the book this title. I can see how the other meanings would also apply.
 Libraries are wonderful places!

tiles in the sidewalk outside the Central Library in Letterkenny--this one says Donegal Library 1922-1997

I hope you're enjoying this day.

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