In the late seventies Michael stayed in a wooden hut by the hot and salty Red Sea for a spell. He shared the hut with a chap named Ivan. Ivan was (and I presume still is) half Venezuelan, half Russian. He was going to study at Harvard, but wanted to travel first. He took two bags with him. One bag was very small and held clothes and vital supplies. The other was very large and held books. The books were mostly Russian classics in translation. His first language was Spanish, his second Russian, but he read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Turgenev et al in English. Once he had read a book he gave it away. Michael's eyes lit up. He had run out of reading matter, so Ivan saved him with Russian literature. Neither Ivan nor Michael cried while reading the tragedy-spattered novels, as there was more than enough salt water surrounding them. The book bag emptied and Ivan travelled lighter, though his head was heavier with yarns of suicidal heroes and heroines and unsuccessful love affairs and soul-struck suffering.
I like to think that he then left Michael in a hut full of novels, walked out into the heat, and strolled through the parted Red Sea carrying just one small bag. I'm pleased that Kindles didn't exist in the seventies, as this little tale wouldn't have existed either.