by Lee Cross
I’m at the airport in Amsterdam now, just on my way home; I’m rather tired, and looking forward to getting home to my own bed… so this will be a short blog.
If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, you’ll be surprised by the number of bookshops there are… you can pretty quickly tick off the things most people know about the city: Van Gogh, Anne Frank, Canals, Tulips, Smoking Weed, and The Red-Light District.
I fall squarely within the “most people” category here, so I was pleasantly surprised by all the lovely bookshops punctuating the city – most selling at least a few English language books which, while not essential, was a happy bonus.
It’s a side note, but I think it’s a failing of most people who read in English to believe that all the great books were first published in our language… I make a point of reading ‘translations’, and take great enjoyment from doing so; still, though, I think I probably have a smidge of that opinion in me.
Even casually browsing through the bookstores, here in Holland, was enough to highlight what a completely lunatic idea that is… for instance, one shop (I should have written down the bloody name…apologies) was completely dedicated to books published in German, which really highlighted the point for me (and made me wonder if monolingual German readers think the same way as us English reading bookworms).
You know (another side issue), I can’t actually think of a great Dutch fiction writer off the top of my head! That’s insane. I wonder if I’ve forgotten that I’ve read a great Dutch writer, or if I just haven’t realised I was reading a great Dutch writer.
There’s so many things I love about books, reading, and writing… but the fact that there will always be another book to read (even if they stopped publishing new titles tomorrow), that there will always be something that I don’t know, something more to learn, or maybe relearn… I think that’s what I love about books the most, and will be what keeps me reading until I become just a memory.
The only true fool, is the man who truly forgets he will always be a fool.
[Ok. That’s my bookworms holiday over for this year. I think next time I’ll go to Russia; and try to think like Bulgakov, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky].