Friday, October 19, 2007
Couple of books
On the train from Firenze to Pisa this morning we met an American woman who’s been living in Italy for many years (she’s married to an Italian). Unlike most of the Americans you meet, the ones who are on tour, she didn’t seem to be out to prove anything. She was just pleasant and down-to-earth. She’s a Christian, and it was partly because I saw her with a piece of paper that had the word Christian on it, and partly because she was reading Henry James’ short stories that we started chatting to her. She said she’d been reading a book called Reading Lolita in Iran, which has a section on Henry James in it, that got her started on reading her old high school copy of the book. Plus she’d recently seen The Others, (with Nicole Kidman), which is in part based on James’ The Turn of the Screw. From my memory of it, I wouldn’t say the film is very close to the book, but certainly it has some aspects of similarity. Reading Lolita in Iran is apparently about a woman teaching English in Iran and she works through various authors in the course of the book, showing the effect they had on the Iranian students. Sounds worth hunting down. I came across a book by awell-known British writer whose name has slipped my mind which is something about the Queen getting into reading (after a library bus stops near where she’s staying). It sounds worth getting hold of too.