FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, September 20, 2010

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book has nothing to do with Africa.
This book has nothing to do with being a Foreign Area Officer.
This book has nothing to do with foreign affairs.

This is a book about journeys.
                                                And about getting lost,
 and being okay with it.

I could tell you that the book is about a precocious and gifted 9 year old whose father is killed in the twin towers on 9-11 and that boy's journey to find some meaning and respite in the midst of his grieving.

But perhaps most useful would be for me to describe the places I read this book.


I read this while running on the treadmill in the bowels of the PGON at the gym there.  After my run was finished I stood on the dormant treadmill for ten minutes engrossed.

I read this stepping off the green line metro at the U Street stop.  I read it while walking up to the escalator and then while riding up it in the right lane.  And then I took three steps off the metro and leaned against the outside of the Quiznos and finished the book's final pages.

I walked home with heavy boots.

And I was okay with that.


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