Memories are funny things. Truth is, we never forget anything - just that we don't bother to recall some things is all. Case in point: I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Listened to J. M. DeMatteis talking about "The Brothers Karamazov" in a recent podcast interview (part one and part two). Then I took down my old copy of the novel from the shelves (got this from this convict, Glyn, that I met - Pltypus was there too - in the Father's Guest House, Cameron Highlands). I remembered devouring the novel back in 1996. I was still working at a computer-learning center in Ampang. Just turned twenty (like Alyosha in the book) and naively stupid in so many ways. The book was heavily annotated, underlined and highlighted - I'm rereading it and smile everytime I remember the thoughts of that 20-year old version of me when I look at the portions I underlined/highlighted. In many ways, I don't really identify with that version of me anymore (although I don't think I'm really wiser now!). Anyway, I'm glad that I picked up the novel again. It's a deeply spiritual experience and joy to read Dostoevsky. I hope I never grow too old to forget this.
Some months back, I visited an old man in the Cancer Ward, SJMC. He's in his 70s/80s and was undergoing chemotherapy in the Cancer Ward. We talked about books. He's got a huge library at home with thousands of books. He started reading "the classics" only after his retirement but he never stopped. He doesn't read English so it took him some time to hunt down all those books in Chinese translation. His favourites include Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Gogol's "Dead Souls" and anything by Tolstoy. My wife and I helped him to get the Chinese translation of Tolstoy's Journals and he gave me his treasured copy of Gogol's "Dead Souls". It is a joy to meet someone who's so obviously enraptured by the simple act of reading.
Finally, a toast to Glyn. [Is the bloke still alive?] I remember giving him my copies of "The Idiot" and Tennyson's poems. :)