Here is the excerpt from “The Tender Bar” I promised in Monday’s post.
On Friday afternoons Bill and Bud would quiz me about what I’d read that week in school. They would then cluck with disgust and take me around the book store, filling a shopping bag with coverless books. “Every book is a miracle,” Bill said. “Every book represents a moment when someone sat quietly–and that quiet is part of the miracle, make no mistake–and tried to tell the rest of us a story.” Bud could talk ceaselessly about the hope of books, the promise of books. He said he it was no accident that a book opened just like a door. Also, he said, intuiting one of my neuroses, I could use books to put order to chaos. At fourteen I felt more vulnerable than ever to chaos…….My days were controlled by teachers, my future was in the hands of heredity and luck. Bill and Bud promised, however, that my brain was my own and always would be. They said that by choosing books, the right books, and reading them slowly, carefully, I could always retain control of at least that one thing.