REAL READERS, ARISE

Rosleedge Books’ world looks promising.
Trumpdom’s not so much.
Worry, worry.

Think of rebutting things,
uplifting things,
Things that go “YES!” in the night.

I can’t decide if, to a reader, living and reading are an interaction, symbiosis, or mind-meld, but I do know they mix and matter as surely as any other substance we ingest to stay alive. I saw some of what I mean in Jim Webb’s memoir, I Heard My Country Calling, and I hoped — and still hope — that I might find it in Peter Orner’s Am I Alone Here? Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live,which one reviewer described as neither literary criticism nor a memoir. So far, and I am only on Chapter 2, the book is wanting. It is organized by key books rather than key events. Life follows, it does not lead.  I understand that books can and do matter after reading, but the joy is the promise that a book might matter when choosing it. The good news is that it usually does. For me, reading isn’t a hobby; it’s a way of life, and I was looking for a think-aliker who so far isn’t there. AARRGGHH.

But then I read the transcript of (NYTimes Book Reviewer) Michiko Kakutani’s interview with President Obama and I knew, thank heavens, that real readers do still exist. He talks of books he put on Malia’s Kindle, books from which he gained perspective, understanding (Iowans, among others), and a sense of identity, sci-fi and thriller books that offered, as books always do to real readers, escape plus the unexpected.

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And though President Obama didn’t mention what I’m sure is his affection for and use of libraries when choosing his books, I wasn’t — and am not — wrong to believe that people of mind with questions (the real readers) thrive in libraries, all kinds of libraries for’ all kinds of information at any time the need to know more strikes. My latest best example of this meta-user living the library life is Ada Calhoun, a New Yorker who “cherishes each library experience.” Enjoy her adventures being shushed out of NYPL while co-looking up with Tim Gunn things about denim,, or managing at the library with a “kids only” bathroom, or enjoying most the Mid-Manhattan Branch where falling asleep is not an option. She is a library user, a freelancer, an entrepreneur, a person of mind, able to shred fake news or alternate facts with a single thought. She is Trump’s worst nightmare, and I will work to make sure, she is one among legions.

I can breathe again.

The new day is better — filled with protests and people reading 1984.

It’s time to plan.

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