Tag Archives: Amos Oz

Goodbye, Amos Oz

Amos Oz has died.

He was an inspiration, and I’m glad I got close enough to him to take this photo. That was over ten years ago, but I remember the moment well. It involved a bit of planning, some sprinting and sharp-ish elbows.

Amos Oz

Below are two of my blog posts about Amos. And – naturally – I know someone (Adèle Geras) who almost knew him.

https://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/amos-oz/

https://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/oz-for-august/

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Order of the Teaspoon

I gave away some used teaspoons this week. Their former owner doesn’t need teaspoons any longer and the new owner will hopefully find them useful. You can’t go to university and not have anything to stir your tea with.

And then by sheer coincidence I read that the Order of the Teaspoon has been around for ten years now, and that in turn made me think of the book How To Cure a Fanatic by Amos Oz, which is what started the whole thing.

Right now we need the kind of wisdom that Amos offers in his book more than ever. You can put out a fire with a teaspoon. If that’s all you have, and there are enough of you – us – and enough teaspoons. I’m wishing for lots of teaspoons both on a local scale in Britain, as well as on a more global scale where it seems there is a new atrocity taking place every week.

Please bring out your teaspoons, and urge everyone else to do so too! We can make a difference.

Fair memories

The Gothenburg Book Fair starts today. And no, I’m not there. I did consider it, and at one point recently I thought maybe I could combine it with going to the dentist. Your ultimate ‘buy one, get one free.’ But I dare say books and dentistry aren’t ideal bogof partners.

Gothenburg Book Fair

I’m very fond of the Gothenburg fair. It’s not quite where bookwitch was born, but seeds were certainly sown. At the start, it felt like I’d be going every year. When I’d been going for three years it definitely seemed like I’d be returning faithfully every September.

But then other things happened. It wasn’t always an ideal time to travel, and when lots of other book festival type events closer to home became more and more important, I actually had to choose. Shame, but we can’t always have everything. In fact, I’m too decrepit to cope with doing everything.

There are always interesting people invited. But for it to work for me, it now needs to be people whose work I know, and who I’ve not already seen somewhere in the UK.

Nice furniture

They are probably better than most at offering Nobel prize winners. And there is something about the way you accidentally come across some very famous people. The comfort and design of some of the hidden away seating areas beats Edinburgh any day. No mud. No rain. But interminably long and uncomfortable queues for the toilets, which Charlotte Square seems to cope with surprisingly well.

Frank McCourt

You’re allowed to pop in and out of author talks, as and when you like. The auditoriums are very comfortable. But the tickets are expensive unless you buy a pass for the duration. It’s still pricey, but you get a lot for your money.

If you don’t want to do that, you get a lot of short, informal talks ‘down on the market floor,’ absolutely free. In fact, one of my favourite Swedish blogs is supplying its teen bloggers to chat to Cornelia Funke at one of the stalls this year.

They haven’t yet invited Meg Rosoff, and I really think they should. I’ve told them often enough.

Fan with Jacqueline Wilson

But Amos Oz, Desmond Tutu, Sara Paretsky and Philip Pullman aren’t bad names to be getting on with. And although we initially went for Mr Pullman, I think one of the valuable things for Son was meeting half the people he knew in Sweden at the fair. We went with School Friend and needed somewhere to sit down for lunch. It was very crowded, so I sent Son ahead to scout for seats.

He came back saying he’d run into Pippi and her companion, and they were saving their seats for us until we got there. So School Friend and Pippi finally met, courtesy of books. And there was Librarian Husband of Cousin popping up all over the place. The Cousin herself popped as well. And eldest Cousin-Offspring. And the artist who makes our favourite calendars.

I know. You’re not impressed. It’s just that we have spent years chasing round to meet up with people on our ‘holidays’, and here they were being served up just like that, ‘all’ at once.

And now we have facebook (what’s left of it) and I am friends with people I saw at the fair, and the ones in Sweden are busy getting ready to jump in and enjoy the books for the next four days. And I’m a little jealous.

That’s all.

Oz for August

Amos Oz

As Adèle Geras said in her comment to my post on Amos Oz last year, he is “one of the HANDSOMEST men you’ll ever see”. I agree, but feel slightly worried you ought not to drool over someone who writes about such serious issues. But it can’t be wrong to have someone as handsome as Amos for August’s calendar boy in the witch’s kitchen. Adèle pointed out my photo doesn’t do him justice, and she is right. I’m just grateful I got close enough to take a picture at all. Interestingly, as I was trawling google images the other day, I found an almost identical photo on another blog, so I wasn’t alone in my struggles.