Oct 012010


In the October 4 issue of The Weekly Standard, Thomas Swick tells about a literary cruise in the Aegean that included a reading list. (“Passenger’s List : Cruising the Aegean with a company of bibliophiles“) One passage toward the end reminded me of some Russian movies:

But one morning I spent an hour in the library reading…. In Cefalu we visited the great Norman cathedral…and then repaired to the café in the square in front. At a nearby table three young women in white summer dresses sat reading books. I asked them where they were from.

“Sweden,” said one of the two blondes.

I told her what an unusual sight it was for me to see a trio of twentysomethings not talking or texting but lost in books.

“In Sweden, too,” she said. I almost invited them back to the ship.

I don’t know about a trio of young women, but in Russian movies there are scenes of solo young women reading books, usually on public transit. Probably the most attractive one I ever saw is this one in Mne Dvadtsat Let. This young woman is so engrossed in her book that she never notices the fine looking young man who is watching her closely. I don’t know if such a scene is possible, but it is very nicely done. She reacts to what she is reading, but is oblivious to everyone else. She is aware enough to move to the empty window seat when it becomes open, and does her part to relay the money that is passed from hand to hand from someone on one end of the bus to the conductor on the other end, and the same for the ticket that makes the return trip. And she doesn’t miss her stop. But she is thoroughly caught up in her reading.

I was kind of hoping to learn just what book she was reading, but we never find out, even though boy does finally meet girl. He should have asked her.

It was a fine bit of film-making just the same.