Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 23rd, 2020

Why did you come back, dear Birthday?

Note: I guess I wrote this poem in 1999 during my birthday in the US (Maryland) 

1.   Why did you come, dear Birthday?

I am no longer sixteen and do have my driving license;

No longer eighteen to run away from home,

I am way passed my twenty-first,

To mind ordering a drink if I cared.

2.   I don’t need you anymore:  you are a liability,

A debilitating memory, a shame to the living youth.

They still show reruns of your comings on the screen:

People hiding in the dark, waiting to catch a stunned face;

Sneaking through the door;


It is not funny for me:

No one ever surprised me at your coming. Not once.

3.   Each year you tap on my door.

The month of May trails fragrance, pageantry, and life.

Why May parade is cut short?

Why May never ends in pomp?

I don’t remember any of my birthdays before twelve.

I was in a Christian private boarding school,

remnant of the discarded

Of parents visiting summer time, once every two years.

On birthdays parties in my honor, it never felt mine,

But you made sure my Friend, to remind me of my loneliness.

Friend, you’ve been consistent through the years,

The best and the worst of years.

Sure, you are welcomed

Every year, any year, my Friend

Among the living.

Note: It turned out that my birthday on May 24 coincides with the eve of Lebanon liberation (Yawm al Ta7rir) from Israel occupation of the southern region in 2000, and without any pre-conditions, after 23 years of occupation. Thus, there is no way I may forgot my birthday anymore.

Book towns? International Organisation of Book Towns? What’s that?

6 of the Most Intriguing Book Towns you’d love to visit

The concept of a book town first came into being in the 1960s, when the fortunes of Hay-on-Wye, a small market town on the Welsh/English border, were transformed by the power of books.

The opportunity to regenerate struggling villages and towns by opening up secondhand bookstores and welcoming literary events has since been embraced by many other locations around the world, creating a network of fascinating places to visit, all with books at their heart.


In 1961 entrepreneur Richard Booth opened a secondhand bookshop in the small market town of Hay-on-Wye (population: c. 1600).

The shop proved very popular and before long had grown to become one of Europe’s largest.

Soon many more specialist and secondhand bookshops popped up in the town, transforming the local economy and raising its bibliophile credentials. To crown Hay’s status as the world’s first book town, a literary festival was set up in 1987 and is now the foremost literary event in the UK, tempting in 250,000 book-loving visitors each year.


Bredevoort (population: c.1525), a small medieval town in the Netherlands, was designated a book town in 1993 because of its more than 20 secondhand and antiquarian bookshops.

Every third Saturday of the month, the town square hosts a book market, attracting book dealers from all over the country to sell English, German, and Dutch books.

Bredevoort is one of the founding members of the International Organisation of Book Towns, and hosts many literary events to support the local book economy.


In 1979, villager Noel Anselot returned from a trip to Hay-on-Wye inspired and decided to regenerate his own tiny village (pop: c. 500) in the beautiful Ardennes region of Belgium by attracting booksellers.

He wrote to many bookdealers across the region, inviting them to set up shop in some of the original village buildings (such as barns, houses, and sheds) to keep the look of the village intact.

The project was a success, and now 17 bookshops specializing in secondhand books and comics are based in the village.

Redu holds a number of book-related exhibitions and events every year, including a book night when the book shops stay open all night long.

The town was officially declared a book town in 1984 after holding its first book festival. To cement Redu’s reputation as the first book town in continental Europe, it is twinned with Hay-on-Wye.


In 1999 this lovely Catskills town (current population: c. 440) was, for all intents and purposes, a ghost town. The only business was a rundown diner.

Local resident Don Dales saw an opportunity and began buying up empty stores. After noticing the success of one antiquarian bookshop, Dale himself opened up two more bookstores in 2004.

Today there are six bookshops, teeming with books on every subject from cookbooks to rare children’s books, as well as an annual Festival of Women Writers. It’s quickly become a tempting weekend destination for book-loving New Yorkers.


Fjaerland (population: c. 300) is located amidst the stunning fjords of Norway, making it one of the most remote book towns in the world—prior to 1994 when a road was built, Fjaerland could only be reached by boat.

The tiny village hosts its bookshops among abandoned village buildings, including a former stable, grocery store, post office, and ferry waiting room. Because of its isolated location and the vagaries of the Norwegian weather, the book town is only open to visitors from May to September.


Wigtown (population: c. 1000) has been Scotland’s designated national book town since 1998. After the town’s main employers, the creamery and whiskey distillery, closed, this remote Scottish town was in danger of becoming derelict.

Fortunately, its regeneration was secured when Wigtown won a national search (beating off stiff competition from five other towns) to create Scotland’s only book town. Booksellers quickly moved in, setting up over twenty bookshops and a very successful literary festival.




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