Real Bookstores

Sam Astorga
January 14, 2017
“Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes." –James Joyce, Ulysses. I still can’t believe what I see as I gaze upon the Liffey. While words do it some justice, the view of this majestic river and its many bridges transcends its literary representations. Yet I am more astounded that many of the bridges are named after revolutionaries and writers. Metaphorically speaking, it seems as if Joyce, Yeats, and O’Connell are still breathing life into the city, even if its via motor traffic. In fact, most places in the city pay due homage to these 20th century figures in public monuments, museums, and iconography throughout the city. In terms of museums, I’ve only been able to visit the James Joyce center so far and take the audio tour. I was very impressed and came back to my dorm room with some fitting décor such as a timeline of Joyce’s life and a map titled So this is Dyoublong? : The City of Dublin in the Writings of James Joyce. In addition to this, I cannot count the times I’ve passed by murals of Easter Rising and its leaders, although it does not help that I often stroll by the Dublin post office. This rich culture also creates the foundation for many great bookstores. Back home when I go into a bookstore, I usually am appalled trying to hold back cries of pain. Just the other day at Vroman’s in Pasadena I saw a book called Helen of Pasadena directly above Crime and Punishment. But Ireland’s shelves only have room for real literature, thankfully. Just the other day, I purchased The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien, whose works are excluded from Vroman’s collection. All this living history and literature has not only inspired blog posts, but also other artistic outlets. While I usually do write limericks, I have doubled my output often writing during orientation lunch breaks. Yesterday, I even went so far as to purchase a tin whistle. As of now I can play three songs: The Foggy Dew, Star of the County Down, and a bit of the Lord of the Rings main theme song. I plan to pursue these interests throughout my time abroad. While all this is well and good, the weather is quite a change. Although we experience a slight winter in Southern California this year, it does not compare to 1 degree Celsius (or 32 degrees Fahrenheit), which are common to this city. Luckily I purchased a peacoat the other day that is quite warm and I will end my post with a limerick about it: I require a peacoat. Yes, dapper clothing to tote In Dublin’s fashion, it’s winters passion. Much colder than what Joyce wrote.

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Sam Astorga

<p>Greetings, welcome to my blog! My name is Sam, and I grew up in South Pasadena as well as books. I am majoring in history and minoring in Russian language at Occidental College, but I always dreamed of studying Irish history and literature. This semester I am going to attend the Trinity College Direct Transfer program.</p>

2017 Spring
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