I've been trying to write about faith for weeks, well, years really. It's been on my mind lately because this summer my father had a stroke. And nothing brings this former Baptist back to Jesus faster than praying that my father will be okay.
When my mother was four years old, she met a black person for the first time. After shaking the woman's hand, she looked at her own to see if any of the 'black' had rubbed off. She shared this story with me when I was growing up to illustrate what a white world she was raised in.
I go to work and browse the bookshelves. Ask my fellow booksellers for recommendations. Buy more books. Then I evolve and start "surfing" online. Reading reviews and blogs. Spying on staff picks from other bookstores.
The gravity of choosing a club name. The ongoing battles to select titles. The no holds barred opinions and heated debates. Kicking members out for failing to read the book or stay on topic. The wine! These readers are the masters of their literary domain.
I guess I miss the good ol' days. President Clinton was in office and was frequently photographed with a book in hand, or seen visiting a bookstore. You had your book club. But I still want to say thank you for everything you've done to support books and promote reading.
My teen years are a blur of loitering and prowling, in libraries, bookstores, and books themselves. And there may have been some trespassing along the way. (The statute of limitations hasn't expired though, so I'll leave it at that.)
I admit that for many years I subscribed to the policy that a book, any book, was always better than no book. In recent years though, I have come to believe that it is the dirty little secret of the bookselling world that some books just suck.
I once slept with a man because he gave me a copy of Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Before you judge me, read the book. It's lyrical and seductive and changes the way you think about reality, about life.