Sunday, April 12, 2020

Provocateur

A month ago, I started reading a captivating biography of Selma Lagerlöf, a Swedish author born in 1858 and the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Like few other recent books, it has inspired me to write more myself and to think of reading in new and less passive ways.

In Wilmersdorf in former West Berlin there is a hotel aptly named “Provocateur”. I stayed there in October 2017 and I remember thinking that, if something were to happen to the world, those would be the kind of places that we would dream of returning to. I also remember brushing away those same thoughts, telling myself that I should stop being such a “Spökenkieker” and instead have more faith in the future, after all, much of my research has been about challenging the prevalent pessimism of traditional environmentalism in particular.

And here I am in April 2020, ordering “Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World” to somehow put things into perspective.

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