Like most young nerds, I grew up surrounded with stacks of books varying in weight, size, and language, some with pictures and others none at all. It didn’t matter if I can’t read or understand them, I just liked the idea of having them around. As I got older, I made the amazing transition of reading Tagalog picture books to English children’s novels. I whittled down my collection to a handful that I cherished most: The Phantom Tollbooth, Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Cricket in Times Square. In some way, they jumpstarted my American upbringing.
Last week, I came across an incredible find: a copy of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (夏洛的网) in Chinese at Wangfujing Bookstore (王府井书店). Charlotte’s Web is one of the first English books I finished cover to cover, and it was simply serendipitous to find a Chinese copy in China. Perhaps it’s the universe conspiring, hinting that I should abandon the mound of nuclear policy readings I’ve assigned myself, take a couple steps back, and start with something simpler and sweeter.
I think I’ll heed the stars.