A Heartbreaking Work Of Getting Rid Of Books

A heartbreaking work of getting rid of books.

“A book can wait a thousand years unread until the right reader comes along.” George Steiner

I identify myself as a reader so it is particularly hard to get rid of my books. As a visual learner, reading is the way I make sense of the world. I am at ease with books around me.

There is a special bookcase in my house of books I have read and loved. Books aren’t impersonal objects to me.They carry in their pages the moments of my life. They were in suitcases with me on my trips. I found one from my honeymoon, my college favorites, books I read to my children, books that made the trip from New York to LA so many years ago and books that changed my life. I went through my books one by one. There was a lot of stuff in the pages. I found quotes that I had written down on little pieces of paper, theatre tickets, flower petals, letters and photos.

Inside the books themselves were worlds so much bigger than mine – Hemingway’s Paris, Bulgakov’s Moscow, Kazanzakis’ Zorba and Tolstoys’ Anna Karenina. The list is endless.There were characters that felt like I did about things from authors like  Kerouac, Eggars, Rand, Salinger, Hughes, Frankl, Vonnegut, Potok, Conroy,  Didion, Fitzgerald, Leibowitz and Wolfe. It was authors like Marquez, Llosa, Proust, Allende, Cervantes, Camus, Murakami and Hesse that made me want to see the world they came from. My most tattered book is “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It is a book I often reread when I need any kind of self-help or understanding about the world.

I would never get rid of books willingly. Paperbacks and fast reads were the easiest to part with, I had a hard time with unread books. I have a lot of them on my night table that I want to read but haven’t gotten to yet. I have to read every book I have ever bought eventually. A book doesn’t have to be read by a certain date.  Whenever I read it is always the right time. Classics, favorites, Pulitzer Prize winners, coffee table art and travel books are still with me. Some will stay in storage for a while because I can’t part with them yet.

Books connect us  and explain things in ways that I often can’t. I asked my kids what they wanted from the house. My son said,”Ill take all your books.“

Fly safe,


What Did It Feel Like On Your Last Day Of Being A Child And Other Questions Asked By Children All Over The World

 Philosophical Questions Asked By Children All Over The World

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Voltaire

In the past  two  years of my blog I have done Proust and  Kant questions on travel and in life  for the new year.  This time, I collected philosophy questions from children on my travels and from the writing program I volunteer in.  I didn’t answer them but they give me something to thing about for the new year.

How do you know if someone is really your friend?

What is imagination?

Is it possible to hold a fair race?

Can animals think?

Why do we cry?

What’s the difference between telling a lie and keeping a secret?

Is it ever ok to steal?

When did you start to think?

What does love mean?

Does my turtle know me?

What is the difference between intelligence and wisdom?

Why are we born?

Why are we here?

Why is there evil in the world?

If we all go to heaven, why did God put us here first?

Does the universe have an edge?

Do we have to be sad sometimes to be happy at other times?

If you had a different name would you be a different person?

Why am I me and not someone else?

How do you know life is not a dream?

Do we all have the same rights?

Why does time move slow when we are afraid and fast when we are on vacation?

Does God exist?

Who made God?

What does God do all day?

Who are God’s parents?

If God is everywhere, is he in my class?

Do you want peace and quiet?

What is my job in this world?

Where does time go when it is over?

What did it feel like on your last day of being a child?

Are we here for a reason?

Am I supposed to know this?

Happy New Year and Fly Safe


The Proust Questions

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

The Proust Questions

At the end of the nineteenth century, when Marcel  Proust was still in his teens, he answered a questionnaire in an English-language album belonging to his friend Antoinette, entitled “An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc.” At that time, it was popular among English families to answer such a list of questions that revealed the tastes and aspirations of the taker.

Proust answered always with enthusiasm. The original manuscript of his answers of 1890, at the time of his volunteer internship or some little time afterwards, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” was found in 1924. It was auctioned on May 27, 2003 for the sum of €102,000.

It seems like a good thing to do for the new year.     Here are my answers.  Try it and see how you do.

Your favorite virtue

my favorite virtue is integrity – whether in myself or in a place. I want it to be real and I want it to be honorable – not some overrun tourist spot.

Your favorite qualities in a man

He should be strong enough to be able to lift my suitcase and wise enough not to complain about it.

Your favorite qualities in a woman

Kindness  is  my favorite quality in human beings. You learn a lot about kindness as a traveler.

Your chief  characteristic

My chief  characteristic is honesty. What you see is what you get. (except when im going through customs – sometimes im a little over the allotted amount that you can bring in)

What you appreciate the most in your friends

Loyalty is what I appreciate most in my friends.- also that they listen to my travel stories and read my blog.

Your main fault

Fear.  I am always fighting it and going on trips  to places like Myanmar and Cuba.

Your favorite occupation

My favorite occupation is traveling.

Your idea of happiness

My idea of happiness is to be traveling with my family.

Your idea of misery

Twenty four hours in coach with crying babies,  loud drunk adults, air sick  and bored kids, plane bathrooms after 12 hours, and then waiting on the runway for a gate.

Favorite painters and composers

(Im going with Marcel Proust on these and adding some)  composers Beethovem Mozart,  Gershwin, Morricone, Rabin.

Painters, Davinci, Rembrandt, Titian the Impressionists, Monet Manet  Van Gogh, Renoir, Seurat,  Picasso,   all the pop and graffiti artists, like Basquiat (  I named my dog after him), new fave Osman Hamedi Bey- just because.

If not yourself who would you be?

I would like to be my best self – the one I aspire to be, with a lot of mileage and platinum  status. I have way too much anxiety to want to be anyone else.  I understand my stuff. Who knows what they have?

Where would you like to live?

I would love to live in a different country every year. Every year I could spend my birthday somewhere else.

Your favorite color and flower

My favorite color is black. It says so on a picture of me that my son drew when he was six . My favorite flower is an orchid.  There were so many beautiful ones in Thailand.

Your favorite prose author

Marquez, Kundera, Camus, Rand,

Your favorite poets

Frost, Neruda,  Silverstein.

Favorite heroes of fiction

Don Quixote de la Mancha, Howard Roarke, Atticus Finch, Jean Valjean.

Favorite heroines of fiction

Of course.

Your heroes in real life 

The CNN Heroes.

Favorite heroines in real life

My mom.

 What characters in history do you dislike?

The same ones everyone else does.

Your favorite heroines of world history.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Queen Esther, Leymah Gbowee , Rosa Parks, , Anne Frank.

Your favorite food and drink

Turkish and Japanese food, margaritas with extra salt,  sake.

Your favorite names 

Kyly, Landon, Basquiat.

What I hate the most

Rushing to make a plane, lines for security, the superiority of the French, the inferiority of everyone else.

World history characters I hate the most

same ones you do.

The military event you admire

The Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.

The reform you most admire

Compulsory education.

For what fault do you have no tolerance for?


The natural talent I would like to gifted with

The right words for every occasion  and perfect packing skills.

How I wish to die

In a conflict in a foreign country.

What is your present state of mind? 

A work in progress.

Your favorite motto 

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting an uphill battle.”

“I haven’t been everywhere but its on my list.”.

Happy New Year and Fly Safe,