Q. Why is your Tumblelog called "My Ear-Trumpet Has Been Struck by Lightning"?
A. Because "My Grandmother's Ear-Trumpet Has Been Struck by Lightning" wouldn't fit in the available space.
After we finished the cotton production textbook, Muzaffar started making up his own grammatical texts, usually featuring one of those recurring characters: President Karimov and poor Muzaffar. I especially liked to hear about poor Muzaffar’s troubles as a graduate student. One morning, for example, Muzaffar went to the library to get books for his dissertation. Samarkand State University had a closed-stack library which had never been fully catalogued, so you just had to write what kind of books you wanted on a request form and hope for the best. Muzaffar turned in his request at opening time. It hadn’t been processed yet by lunch. The library was closed for an hour and a half, at which point the librarian disappeared altogether. Several hours later, he was discovered asleep in some corner, and was dispatched to the philosophy stacks in the basement, where he again vanished. The library closed for the day, and Muzaffar had to go home. Two days later, he rushed to the library in response to a phone call, and there was a big pile of books waiting for him … written in Arabic script, which had been discontinued in 1928. Muzaffar had to get his grandfather to read him the books. “But my grandfather isn’t interested in philosophy. He would read to me only after I spent all Saturday pulling weeds from his cabbage garden. It was a particularly hot day …
-- Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
A Mass of Odds and Ends:
There are certain books that one remembers together with the material circumstances of reading: how long it took, the time of year, the color of the cover. Often, it’s the material circumstances themselves that make you remember a book that way - but sometimes it’s the other way around. I’m sure that my memory of that afternoon - the smell of rain and baking chocolate, the depressing apartment with its inflatable sofa, the sliding glass door that overlooked rainy palm trees and a Safeway parking lot - is due to the precious, almost-lost quality of Babel’s 1920 diary.
- Elif Batuman, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them