If I visit someone's home, I really feel more at home if the home-owner has lots of books, and doesn't mind me browsing some of them. If I recognize a few books, it establishes a sort of comeraderie for us, a telepathic connection. Books give a person intellectual grounding and fight-power. We don't let ourselves get smothered by public stupidity.

I take after my father in certain ways. My mother loved a party, but small-talk bored my dad. When Mother told us children that it was time to go home, she invariably asked us, "Where is your dad?" We didn't even need to answer. One of us would look for him in the home-owner's library. We had a sizable library in our home, growing up, and so I have loved libraries ever since.

My office bookcase

My living-room bookcase

Most people don't read a novel five or six times. Writers do. It's like re-reading a love letter. By the time a writer becomes famous, he already gone through three or four copies of his favorite novels, having worn them out through repeated, vigorous readings. He may cut up sheets of paper to use as bookmarks, so he can turn to a favorite passage in a hurry, and scribble personal comments on the pages.

Here are just a few of my favorites. Note the number of paired books by the same author, like lovers in a park. If you like one book by an author, chances are, you will like its partner.

Before Amazon, I had to take my chances with second-hand bookstores and get tattered, old copies where I could. No writer worth his salt will see himself as anything but an Amazon addict. We simply can't live without Amazon for any length of time—both from the buying and the selling standpoint. Nothing makes authors invest in new editions like Amazon.


September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.

September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.

September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.

Lloyd Bowers


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