Friday, July 24, 2009

I think I must have told quite a few stories about one person I had the (mis?)fortune to meet by virtue of my newly inherited Kindle over spring break; but the fact of the matter is that sitting for a couple hours at a bar in a coffee shop, sipping tea and reading Sherlock Holmes off of a piece of flashy technology garnered me more than one conversation. And although the ridiculousness and idiocy of the one might have pushed from my mind another, it was only a matter of time before subsequent coincidences brought it back again.

To be brief: While sitting in a coffee shop on my first day in San Diego for Spring Break, I crossed paths with a raving madman and a barista on his lunch break. The madman told me things about DNA that were not covered in my Advanced Genetics class (or in fact any class I have ever took). The barista recommended to me a spanish author by the name of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a name which I wrote down on the back of a receipt, and promptly forgot.

3/4s of the way through "The Shadow of the Wind", however, and I have just realized that this author -- the author of this book which I cannot stop reading, busy as I am -- is exactly the one recommended to me some four months ago, in San Diego. The book is wonderful; gothic and frightening and full of beautiful language that I am sure only just barely comes through in translation, bringing a city to life with all of its grime and disease, believable characters who you love even as they barrel through life, selfish and oblivious, and a main character who really develops - a boy who slowly grows up through the pages of the book. It has been the wonderful antidote to the dry, technical nature of the rest of my late reading.

So, to all the baristas in San Diego who give out book recommendations to tourists on their lunch breaks, thank you.

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