When will everything go back to normal? Don’t tell me that’s never going to happen. I don’t want reasonable skepticism no matter how healthy that is. I want hopes, illusions, and delusional optimism.

Escapism is desperately needed for this trying time. Too bad that I’ve already passed the age of mad absorption in a book that I can completely lost myself in a fantasy world. Now I thought about it–how many boring books I’ve been through during those years with reckless un-decerning appetite. “Quietly Flows the Don” is one of them. My mom majored in Russian in college and her admiration for Russian literature never ceased. But after finishing this huge brick of a book, I somehow lost my passion for emulation of my mother. Actually the book and several other from those Russian masters were so heavy that my mom couldn’t carry them upstairs to our apartment and I had to rush downstairs to help. My ultra sociable mother, an exact opposite personality to my own quiet sloth temperament, was the best friend to our local librarian and somehow acquired the privilege to borrow books in bulks. I suspect that if she had borrowed Dostoevsky or Chekhov, I probably would immerse myself in Russian novels a lot longer. However in her opinion, Dostoevsky is too dark and Chekhov too bourgeois, unsuitable for any impressionable young mind.

I switched to Agatha Christie, which my mom disproved. She disliked all detective stories and considered my taste morbid and unhealthy. To this day, I still don’t understand why she insisted on optimistic books. “Quietly Flows the Don” is not exactly optimistic, but it fits her ideal of continuous struggle and enduring hope. Her own life is the exact opposite and not much to be optimistic about. It’s not a bad life, quite financially secure, no big illness or terrible difficulties. Isn’t it strange that a “not bad” life can be so suffocating?

Now many years later, I’ve tried Mencken, Shaw, Wharton, but none of them can offer me the sensation of total escape of my mind into a new world. Now let me try something about military conflicts. I hope that can do the trick.

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