Late last week a sizable box arrived from America. Packed and shipped by my mom (thanks, mom!) the box contained several excellent DVDs (thanks, Tim!), two brand-new 16-inch softballs for the English Club, and a treasure trove of magazines. Three New York Reviews of Books, half a dozen New Yorkers, and a pair each of Atlantics and Harper'ses. Oh, did that feel good. Like my living room from home got plopped in the middle of my living room here, without the dust and dog hair. I immediately read through the most recent Atlantic and started on the front section of the September Harper's and then I just thumbed through the NYRBs, enjoying their printed smell and their odd and unreasonable shape and the resolute indifference of the magazine's editors to yield one whit to contemporary design conventions. Just acres of ink. Always the ugliest covers on the newsstand. And so papery! Like anti-gloss. Anti-flash. For readers who like their words by the gross.
I was still stoking out about the mags cache Tuesday when one of the school's vice principals found me at the guest house and handed me a sealed mailer. Inside: the Oct, 4 issue of the New Yorker. (Featuring a lengthy profile of the Dalai Lama by Evan Osnos, who earlier this year wrote a lengthy profile of Richard M. Daley. Yin, yang.) I'd forwarded the magazine to my address in Magelang but had yet to receive a copy and I'd begun to think maybe it would never happen. And then it did. "Dear Recipient," wrote my friends at Pitney Bowes International Service, subscription agent, "It is important to us that your mail is received within a reasonable timeframe." Hear hear. I have no idea when this thing shipped but I know that I'm now back to normal--way behind on my New Yorkers, with another one out there somewhere bearing down.