I like the restaurant because it serves a leafy green salad innocent of mayonnaise. I’m not quite sure how it manages to stay in business, as it is usually empty whenever I am there, the cool white walls and dark furniture reflecting a deep calm throughout the building. Of course I’m usually reading some sort of book whenever I have a meal there, and one time the waitress commented on that. We talked about our background, our living situations (I am in Goris, she is living with her mother while attending one of the universities in Yerevan as a master’s student), and pleasures of reading. I mentioned that it was difficult to find convenient books to read in Armenian – that I would like a collection of short stories, perhaps from different authors. She thought about this for a minute.
No, she said, you are quite wrong. You must read a big book, just from one author. You get used to the author in that time, learn his vocabulary, learn his way of looking at the world, and by the end the book reads itself. This is how you read in a foreign language. This is how you learn.