Having slept late, I didn't get online until nearly noon. When I checked email, I saw that my friend Donna had suggested: "Shall we read in the library?" I hadn't thought of that, but what a great idea! So I looked for an illustration of reading, found this colorful elephant, printed off three copies with the words shown below, and got ready to go downstairs to our library here in the Crown Center.
Today, take part in National Readathon Day
by reading in the Crown Center Library
between 12:00 noon and 4:00 pm to help
"create, promote and sustain a lifelong love of reading."
When I reached the library, Donna wasn't there, and she wasn't hearing her cell phone when I called. So there I was in the library, trying to read
The Valley of Amazement (2013), while hearing two Chinese women conversing loudly in the nearby laundry room. (Appropriate, I thought, since that novel is set in Shanghai.) I was alone until a man came in and went to the shelves holding the books in Russian. He found a book and left. Later, a Chinese man I've seen there before sat down at his usual table to read. Either he doesn't speak English or doesn't want to talk, but for awhile I had another reader in the small library with me. Then a Chinese woman came in and said, "Good to see you again!" I didn't remember her name, but I'd seen her before. It turned out that she didn't remember my name, either, but she wanted to talk:
"Do you have time to hear my story?"I figured I wasn't getting much reading done, so okay. I went over and sat in the chair beside her, as she told her story in broken English and much pantomiming. The best I could tell, May was born in Burma, her father was Chinese, they were refugees in China, returned to Burma, and she lived 29 years in India where she married an Indian man. When she left, I returned to my book.
He died on Wednesday the 21st. It's easier to read where it's quiet.