I was down in Centro earlier this week meeting blog buddy Danny for a coffee – we’re trying to get together again before he leaves but he’s here for his brother’s wedding and the weekend has been filling up for both of us. Since I was downtown I figured I’d drop into Feltrinelli International Bookstore and see what was new. I should know better – I came out with four books (all paperback)and a Mastercard receipt for $80.00. Paperback books in English here run about $2 – 5 dollars more expensive than listed on Amazon Canada.
So why not get them shipped over? Two words: Italian Bureaucracy. This is the likely scenario:
- The parcel is sent from Canada to Rome
- Thence PosteItalia sends it up to their Customs Centre in Milan
- I will receive an invoice telling me how much I owed the State for daring to bring something into the country
- I take the statement to a Post Office – in the morning only as there are only two that I know of that are open all day, except of course from 1 pm until 4 pm when they are closed for lunch.
- I line up and when I reach the window will no doubt be told I am in the wrong line and directed to another line-up.
- When I reach that window – if it really is the right one and the employee is not going on coffee – I buy the equivalent in stamps to the customs duty
- I send the invoice back to Milan in the envelope provided – not stamped so I better remember to buy one – at another window.
- I receive a notice in the mail that the parcel can be picked up at the local post office – in the morning only.
- I pick up a parcel of books with pages yellowed by age and print faded by time and find that they have since been republished with corrections and additions.
Think I’ll just pay the extra – it will give me one less thing to whine about!
One of the books I had gone in looking for was Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare and as you can probably tell it was there. I tend to be leery of books where the author’s name is four times the font size of the title (you know Danielle Steele, Jackie Collins, Dan Brown) but Bryson is normally a good read and the reviews had been generally positive. Well so far nothing new has come up but as I suspected it is a good sitting-in-the-shade-sipping-a-cool-drink Summer read.
Faced with a wealth of text but a poverty of context, scholars have focused obsessively on what they can know. They have counted every word he wrote, logged every dib and jot. They can tell us (and have done so) that Shakespeare’s works contain 138,198 commas, 26,794 colons, and 15,785 question marks; that ears are
spoken of 401 times in his plays; that dunghill is used ten times and dullard twice; that his characters refer to love 2,259 times but to hate just 183 times; that he used damned 105 times and bloody 226 times, but bloody-minded only twice; that he wrote hath 2,069 times but has just 409 times; that altogether he left us 884,647 words, made up of 31,959 speeches, spread over 118,406 lines.
I’ll take useless Shakespearean Knowledge for 400, Alex.
10 agosto – San Lorezno