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dear uncle napoleon

Posted on 2006.08.08 at 18:13
Current Location: chez moi
Musique actuelle: cheb mami
It's very hard for me to concentrate on reading in the summer. For one, I work too much at my repetitive, no-brainer job. For two, in the summer I’m always under the impression that I should be having "outdoor fun," meaning not lying around indoors all day. The problem lies in the fact that I cannot and do not enjoy reading outside. If I lay in the garden at my house, I am distracted by every car/person/cat that walks by. If I lay in a park, I get distracted by the frisbee throwers and annoying kids running around. If I sit in an outdoor café, my attention defaults to the people walking by and the conversations surrounding me. In all, the place where I enjoy to read the most is either on my couch or in my bed. While I myself have no problem with this, it drives many of the people I hang out with insane when I would rather lay around and read in bed rather than talk a walk on the beach, partaking in outdoor summer activities, or going to happy hour at the bar.

Anyways, for the past month I have almost completely given up on reading. Not by choice, but rather because of the aforementioned and unavoidable circumstances that present themselves every summer. I have picked up everything from Zola to Márquez, from Proust to Roy to Fitzgerald, from history to political science to anthropology, and nothing has managed to keep my concentration beyond the 3rd chapter. A highly problematic situation, I know.

For months now, in the lost and found at my work, I have seen a book entitled "My Uncle Napoleon." For months I have ignored it because, to be honest, I didn't like the title of the book. I don't care much for Napoleon and I could care even less about a novel having to do with him. So each time I went into the lost and found to look for something, I would toss "My Uncle Napoleon" to the side wondering how much longer it would sit there until they finally gave it to Goodwill. About a week ago, I once again came across said book. As I was carelessly tossing it to the side once more, I noticed the name Azar Nafisi written along the binding. It was just 3 months ago that I finally got around to reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and I have been looking for other works by Nafisi. Thinking this must be some new book of hers I ventured so far as to leaf through the first few pages of the book only to find that she had just written the introduction. Putting my disappointment aside I continued to leaf through the book eventually arriving at chapter one where I began. I didn't stop until 502 pages later where I read the last line, put the book down, and sighing to myself declared that this was possibly one of the greatest works of literature I had ever read. It has both all and nothing to do with Napoleon. It has both all and nothing to do with the current state of the world. It has everything to do with humanity.

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