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Showing posts from June, 2011

How I met Salinger in Romania

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When I was a pharmacy student in Bucharest, Romania, I used to spend my life in libraries. Among my favorites was Biblioteca Centrala Universitara, known as BCU, originally sponsored and inaugurated by King Carol I of Romania in 1895.  I loved its architecture (designed by the French architect Paul Gottereau), I loved the openness of its spaces; what I dreaded was getting in and out of it because of my poor relationship with the clerk who checked library cards, a sadistic St. Peter who enjoyed harassing students by examining your card with painful attention and pointing to an improper photograph, some impending expiration date or simply looking at you as if you had done something bad.  But once you got inside the library, you were in the middle of a treasure.  Many times I would bring my pharmacy books with me;  but they stood little chance when a meter away, on the shelf, Freud, Nietzsche, Schrödinger, Dali, and a hundred others, were staring at me.   And that'…