I know you have seen the post on Instagram or Facebook, the one that says something like, “If you don’t sing along to __ then we can’t be friends”. My usual response is “No, no, no. No can do” (thank you to Daryl Hall and John Oates). I love moments that can be summed up in a line from a great song. They do not happen near enough. If I could speak in song lyrics all the time, I think I would.
I recently finished reading “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys when I found a book my husband had gotten for me for my birthday last spring. It sat abandoned on my book shelf since March. I finally picked it up and started reading it. It was “The Tragedy of Mr. Morn” by Russian author Vladimir Nabokov. You may not be familiar with the title, but you are familiar with that name. Of course I immediately made a post on Facebook saying “I am reading that book by Nabokov.” Still don’t get it? Neither did my Facebook friends, the ones who post that we can’t be friends unless we sing lyrics to every 80’s song.
Think about the Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”:
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabokov.
There you have it. I totally made a literary and music reference in one Facebook post! Even though “The Tragedy of Mr. Morn” has a coughing old man, I know it is not the book Sting was referring to, but apparently, my friends don’t know that. In my mind, I wanted them to think “How cool is she? She’s reading Nabokov.” In reality, they are taking pictures of their dinner to post on Facebook. Trust me though, I try to work in the fact that I have read this Russian author into many conversations. One day, someone will say “Wow. What else have you read?”
Before “The Tragedy”, I read “Between Shades of Gray” It is not anything like the Shades of Gray that naughty minded adults (and teens) are thinking of. This book is actual literature. Based on actual historic events, this is the odyssey of a teen age Lithuanian girl named Lina and her family who have been deported from their homeland to Siberia by the Russians. The family is given 20 minutes to pack, then are forced onto a train with other deportees. They face illnesses, desperation, and hunger.
Since reading “Between Shades of Gray” I often take inventory of my closet and pantry so I will know what I should pack, should the need arise.
If you had only 20 minutes to pack for an unknown future, what would you pack?