My garbled memory of the passage tells me that April 23rd is not only Saint George's day but also Shakespeare's birthday and Dantes' birthday (or perhaps deathday). For this reason, in some countries (which countries?) the date is associated with literature and it is traditional to give the gift of a book on this day (but to whom?).
I didn't give any bookish presents yesterday but I did join BookMooch which I'd been meaning to do ever since Heather told me about it.
While I was fruitlessly skimming though books looking for the elusive passage (I could clearly visualise it three-quarters of the way down a right-hand page), I came across this much more interesting paragraph about the difference between expatriates and foreigners. I've never liked the term ex-pat and in fact I hadn't ever heard it bandied about much until I started reading so-called ex-pat blogs. Alasdair Reid explains what the word means to him in Whereabouts: Notes on being a Foreigner, a book I mentioned in my last post.
[Expatriates] have left their own countries on a long lead, never quite severing the link with home, never quite adapting themselves to their exile, clinging to one another for company, haunting post-offices, magazine stands, and banks, waiting expectantly for money from home, anything at all from home. Expatriates are generally getting their own countries into perspective, to the point where they feel strong enough, or desperate enough, to return to them. Foreigners, conversely, live where they are, leaving their pasts and countries behind them for the place they take root in. In one sense, they are lucky: they are free to enter a new context unencumbered, with clear eyes, and are often able to savor a place in a way that escapes the inhabitants, for whom it has become habit. But however well a foreigner adapts himself to a place and its inhabitants, however agile he becomes in the lore and the language, there is a line he can never cross, a line of belonging. he will always lack a past and a childhood, which is really what is meant by roots.
The picture above which is me à la Modigliani (and yes, I have to agree, I look more alien than foreign) was created here. You too could see what you would look like if you were black/white/asian/a man/woman etc.