As usual, I have been remiss in writing, especially about books. I am so caught up in the passive role of reader that I struggle to take an active role as writer. There is so much going on here in Peru that I often don’t have time or energy for either reading or writing. I live in an apartment full of people who know each other and who are all friends. There is always someone coming or going from the apartment, so solitary activities are often interrupted. Plus I don’t want to miss anything though I do often make the choice to stay home due to my introverted and quiet nature. Sometimes people are just too much.
Last night was Thanksgiving, and despite it being a lot of work and a lot of stress, it was such a delightful evening that I wish I could repeat it. Having taken on most of the work of planning and set-up along with one of my roommates, organizing a dinner for what ended up being about 23 people was a challenge, but one that I enjoyed very much. Everyone brought something to contribute, so we had plenty of food and drink. I managed to find some (rather unattractive) tablecloths, made a candle holder out of a large water bottle, and had candles and fresh-cut flowering vines on each table. The result was actually rather charming, and everyone seemed very happy with the atmosphere.
I remember looking around me once we cut the turkey and the party got truly started and feeling my heart fill with love and gratitude. There’s something immensely satisfying about watching people enjoy themselves when you’ve worked so hard to create something nice for them. We even invited several of our Peruvian friends to share our feast with us, and it was nice to share a piece of our culture with them, as they have been so accommodating in sharing theirs with us. The party lasted long into the night, I ate and drank entirely too much, but I couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening. Though I was sad being away from family and friends and most things “traditional” at Thanksgiving, I think the novelty of spending the holiday in a new place, as well as the sweat of my labor that helped make it a success, made this my favorite Thanksgiving yet. I hope my family won’t take offense to that! I do hope to spend the holiday with you guys again next year, and I can’t wait for Christmas!
Now, as for my reading list, I’ve racked up quite a few titles in between this post and my last. I read The Outsiders almost entirely on my train ride back to Cusco from Machu Picchu, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I couldn’t put it down. Despite its reputation as an excellent novel, I’d never been tremendously interested in it. I found it in a tiny used bookstore in Cusco and I wanted to give them some business so I bought it (and actually gave it back to them without asking for a refund so they could sell it again–gotta support local bookstores, no matter where you find them!).
The story, for those living under a rock or in stubbornness, like me, is a coming-of-age tale about a young greaser who gets in just a little over his head. There’s a surprising amount of tragedy for such a small volume, and for all its simple and dated language, it packs a powerful punch. I believe my favorite part is the relationship Ponyboy has with his brothers. While I have an amicable and loving relationship with my siblings, the brothers in this book are all alone in the world and rely on each other for everything. They have their moments of disliking each other, but the love between them runs swift and deep. Perhaps my least favorite part was that I was never able to suspend my disbelief. It had an almost fable-like quality to it with its narrow misses, its loose ends neatly tied up at the end, and the “aw shucks” moments in which all the boys learn a valuable life lesson. Still, it’s a good little book and I definitely recommend it for those who have not read it yet. It’s only the reading of an afternoon–it takes very little time at all, so read it between two greater works of writing.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be flying to Texas on Tuesday and I am not working while I’m there, so I will hopefully get more writing done and have more updates and book reviews for you guys!