A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Consistency: the hobgoblin of a little mind?

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 29, 2007

The other night I decided to take a break from my evening routine (working on my laptop while hitting “refresh” on my favorite news sites every few minutes to keep abreast of any recent bombings) and curl up in bed with a novel: Cairo House, by Samia Serageldin.


The curling up went beautifully, but the novel was … a disappointment. Well, not a disappointment exactly – it was more like a case of deja vu. I opened the book, began reading, and realized that I had purchased and read the same book two months before.

Sigh. I’ve done this before: purchase a book, read and enjoy it, give it away to someone and then, some time later, see it in a bookstore, mis-recognize it as one I have not read, and purchase it again.

At least I know my tastes are consistent, I tell myself whenever it happens.

Luckily, I now have new books to read, courtesy of my aunt, who gifted them to me, and of H, who brought them back from Kuwait on Sunday.

H called to let me know about the books within an hour of returning to Beirut – and I was initially delighted to hear about them. Thank you so much, I said. Let me know when you want me to take them off your hands, thinking: sometime during the two weeks that you will be here.

Actually, diamond, H replied, I’d like to bring them over as soon as possible. Its the type of thing where my mother will kill me if I leave them out on the coffee table.

Oh God, I said, thinking: what on earth is in these books that could so horrify someone’s mother?

For the next hour, I fretted over what type of books these could be. Were they too Christian? Were they too romantic? Did they advocate American imperialism? I couldn’t imagine anything my aunt might send to me giving offense to anyone, but … apparently they had.

When H arrived, I took the books and scanned them – titles, authors, covers. They were utterly … mundane. I looked up at H, who smiled and said apologetically,

I’m sorry for the rush, but my mother is one of those people who hates to have anything cluttering up the coffee table.

In celebration of not having offended H’s mother, I am off to curl up in bed with one of those books: Antonia Arslan’s Skylark Farm.


One Response to “Consistency: the hobgoblin of a little mind?”

  1. intlxpatr said

    I know what I sent you Little Diamond, and his Mom might have been horrified by the titles! Even if the books were not at all offensive in any way, poor poor H! He is such a delightful man, I am so sorry if my choice of books caused even a second of discomfort for him. And he was so polite, he didn’t say a word to me about them! I am so so sorry!

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