Something that many of us PCVs do is keep reading lists. During our two and one-half years of service we enjoy a healthy amount of free time. On top of that, there are the overnight train rides and long waits at the bus stop. So, we read. A lot.
Some time before I left Ukraine, I was with my Uncle, who spent two and one-half years as a PCV in Ecuador from 1997-99. We chatted about my future plans, including – at that point, because I was still unsure – where in the world I’d end up. Then we moved on to books. He’d kept a reading list, too. It was extensive. I’d been a fairly avid reader back home. Certainly, living in Portland made that easy, with Powell’s just around the corner and a coffee shop on every block. But I don’t think I truly believed, when looking at my uncle’s list, that I’d come to read as many books as him – or as many as anyone else, for that matter.
As it turns out, I’m on pace. Despite a slight hiccup during pre-service training, in which my brain spent more than four hours each day learning and thinking only Russian, I’ve read quite a bit.
Here’s what I’ve read thus far (in no particular order):
Three Cups of Tea
Love Is A Dog From Hell
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
As I Lay Dying
The Sun Also Rises
Of Mice and Men
In The Garden Of The North American Martyrs
Raymond Carver’s collective works
Down and Out in Paris and London
Bird by Bird
Consider The Lobster
A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again
Oodles of other DFW short stories
And there you have it. My list thus far. It seems less impressive when I look back on it. Erg. But understand that my ability to find English language books in Ukraine is, well, limited. This is the part where I plead with you to send me books. All kinds of books. I love fiction and non. And I’m always eager to try something new. So, in case you’re feeling gracious, I’ll add in my address below. Just maybe you have something lying around that would like to see a different part of the world, and make someone very happy at the same time.
Bldg. 214, Apt. 33
Ул. Сибирцева 214/33