The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Why My Nieces Get Books for Christmas (And My Eerie Paul Street Boys Coincidence)

The influence of early books is profound. So much of the future lies on the shelves…

-Graham Greene. A Sort of Life.

Ferenc Molnar, The Paul Street Boys

On my last trip to Europe, one of my first stops was Budapest, Hungary. A dear friend there told me about The Paul Street Boys, and said that since I had a bit of time in town, I should read it before I left. Of course, rather than read, we talked, we went out, I wandered–and I never got around to reading his copy before departing. Intending to take his suggestion, I wrote the title and author in my notebook.

Three weeks later, I visited a friend who owns a hostel in Croatia. Guess which was the only English language novel on the hostel bookshelf? The Paul Street Boys.  I’m nearly too excited to read it!

17 comments on “Why My Nieces Get Books for Christmas (And My Eerie Paul Street Boys Coincidence)

  1. billgncs
    November 25, 2013

    to give a book is to entitle a child to dream

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      November 25, 2013

      Here’s hoping! 🙂 I’m going to give some Shel Silverstein poems to them both. Those were early favorites of mine.

      • billgncs
        November 25, 2013

        I think that and reading aloud are wonderfully powerful incentives to learn to love learning

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        November 28, 2013

        Agreed. Sometimes I read aloud to myself!

      • billgncs
        November 28, 2013

        what are your favorite self-reads ?

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        November 28, 2013

        Iris Murdoch, Antal Szerb, Graham Greene. And Fernando Pessoa. My king.

      • billgncs
        November 29, 2013

        thank you – I have begun looking at Pessoa – what a treasure you have shared… but I suppose that’s the nice thing about strangers – bw

      • thenicethingaboutstrangers
        December 1, 2013

        Happy to share him! “The Book of Disquiet” very literally changed my life.

  2. Darlene
    November 25, 2013

    I love when those kind of book coincidences happen! (Its happened to me a few times) My grandchildren call me The Book Gramma. I always show up with a book for them on special occassions.

  3. Maccabros
    November 25, 2013

    to read is to dream and to give the present of readind to someone means you share a phantasy…

  4. You’ll have to let us know what all the fuss is about!

  5. evelyneholingue
    December 2, 2013

    When I was a kid my grandfather always gave me a little bit of money for Christmas.
    “Buy a book,” he would tell with a smile.
    He was an avid reader despite his poor eyesight. He knew of course that the first thing I did with the money was to run to the bookstore and buy books. I dreamed of that instant yearlong. I bought The Nancy Drew series when I was very young and then almost any book that caught my interest when I read the back cover.
    Your nieces are lucky! And they will remember your gifts for the rest of their lives.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      December 3, 2013

      What a wonderful memory, Evelyn! Thank you for sharing that lovely experience. I’m glad you took his advice!
      My grandmother was also an avid reader, even after losing her eyesight. She turned to audiobooks for many years, reading everything Books for the Blind sent to her. Even the pirate stories (not her favorite, not mine either!). 🙂
      I love seeing how the influence of my grandparents continues to unfold in my life.

  6. Nia Simone
    December 4, 2013

    Did you like the book? How great that you have a friend who owns a youth hostel in Croatia!

  7. Jonathan Caswell
    December 5, 2013

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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