We shipped two cartons of textbooks to the high school teachers (N, H,
S, and Sh) in Baghdad today, and we spoke to N and H on the phone for
the first time.
I was restless last night, with so many questions flowing through my
mind; so many things I wanted to ask N. I have never had such a close
relationship with someone I haven’t met before. N is like family to us
now. We email so often that we know details of each other’s lives and
think about each other all the time. The call wasn’t what I expected.
If anything, there was little that we said, and we both mentioned that
we were somewhat tongue-tied, with more thoughts than words.
"How are you doing?"
"Fine, we are doing well. How about you?"
"We are great. We are having a good time. Is everything OK?"
And so on-a mostly simple, trite conversation. It is as if I was
talking to a relative I hadn’t chatted with for a while and we were
catching each other up on our lives.
I realize that the books are more than just textbooks.
Wonderful Town New Yorker Stories of New York
Elements of Literature Essays
Shakespearean Tragedy By Bradley
Preface to Critical Reading By Altick: Ohio State University
Handbook to Literature By Thrall and Hibbard- With outline of history of English and American Lit.
Enjoyment of Literature By Grebanier: How to appreciate great writing
September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows By members: How to turn grief into actions for peace
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Ariel: Life of Shelley Andre Maurois
The Mirror and the Lamp Abrams: romantic theory and the critical tradition
Yeats and Artistic Power Marcus: Cornell University: commentaries on poems and plays
Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce
Anatomy of Criticism Northrop Frye
Walden (and more) Henry David Thoreau
Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafisi
Plum Bun Jessie Redman Faucet
The God of Small Things Arundhati Roy
Joseph Andrews Henry Fielding
Emerson Among the Eccentrics Carlos Baker
Walt Whitman Harold Bloom Study Guide
The Portable Romantic Poets Edited by W. H. Auden and Norman Holmes Pearson
The Secular Scripture Northrup Frye
Romanticism-a critical reader Edited: Duncan Wu
A Handbook to Literature Thrall and Hibbard
The Story and Its Writer Ann Charters
Ways of Reading Bartholmeae and Petrosky
Women’s World-women in history Frank & Brownstone
101 Stories of the Great Ballets Balanchine and Mason
The Oxford Book of Modern Verse
A set of New Yorker Magazines
The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature
Norton Introduction to Poetry J. Paul Hunter
Commonsense Guide to Grammar and Usage Beason and Lester
A Writer’s Reference Hacker
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Rise of the Novel Ian Watt
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
Three Course Readings M. Hassan, for his classes
The New Yorker Magazine Several months of issues
Dwellers of the Tundra Life in an Alaskan Eskimo Village
Zaire, Canada, Cuba, Pakistan, Tunisa Thin brief descriptions in separate thin books
Empire of the Sun Beautiful photos
Written in Stone A geologic history of the North Eastern US
I think we fulfilled N’s request to send a lot of material about the
Romantic Period. I know we did much more. One of her students said that
now she knows that not all Americans are bad, and that’s a good thing
These books are a means of touching those innocent civilians who are
caught up in the maelstrom we have created. Our government, our
country, our war. It leaves many young people, as well as many adults,
feeling totally isolated and helpless in the face of the war-machine
that ravages their lives. We make a difference when we show that we
care. These gifts of love are more than just textbooks.
Oh yes; one more thing: The laughter. I have been looking at emailed
pictures of N for many, many months. They are smiling-big happy smiles
and twinkling eyes. I often wonder about the flowering spirit that
permits such happiness in the face of such destruction. Today I heard
the laughter behind the smile.