Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Binge-watching is the thing now. A guy my age remembers when everybody was reading the same book. Now people start their day with the television going and end their day with it too. It’s the elephant in the room. It’s the real addiction. It’s not iPhones. It’s not Instagram or Facebook or Internet porn. It’s television. Count the hours. That’s a lot of sitting. In front of a very big screen. Ray Bradbury saw it coming more than 50 years ago. 

Monday, April 6, 2020


Some weeks have now passed. I’m not out with the sign. I miss everything about that. When the scare first happened and we were told not to take the subway, I considered walking to Chambers Street even though it was really too far to walk. Then it all stopped. We’re all indoors. Bookstores are closed, libraries too. I have books on shelves and on tabletops and on the floor, so I’m OK. Magazines come in the mail. I gave my mailman $20 the other day just for coming every day when not much else does. 

Monday, March 9, 2020



I DIDN’T WEAR MY BIG OVERCOAT to hold the sign this morning for the first time in months. It was a little warmer so I wore a fleece, not a Patagonia, but that kind. I’m aware of what I wear with the sign. I don’t want to look too put together or I’ll come off maybe as a politician who’ll be asking for something later. But I don’t want to look too casual about the message of the sign either. I never wear my BERNIE beanie. I never wear my black San Francisco Giants hat. I never go more than a day or two without shaving. What it says on the sign is what matters and I want to look that way.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Choosing a book is so gratifying, it’s worth dragging out the process, starting even before finishing the current one. As the final chapters approach, you can pile up the possibilities like a stack of travel brochures. You can lay out three books and let them linger overnight before making a final decision in the morning. You can Google the reviews; ask other people if they’ve read it, collect information. The choice may ultimately depend on the mood and the moment. ‘You have to read a book at the right time for you,’ Lessing also said, ‘and I am sure this cannot be insisted on too often, for it is the key to the enjoyment of literature.’.   
                                           ― Pamela Paul, Times book editor 

Thursday, February 13, 2020


It’s a rainy day. I’m at the local NYC branch library which is two blocks from my apartment. It’s a small library. You’re more apt to order a book from the system’s online site and pick it up here than find it on the shelf. I’m an unusual regular. Neighborhood residents in market-rate apartments don’t come in to stay; they pick up a book they ordered and leave. The people who stay are maybe homeless, maybe addicts, maybe recent immigrants, maybe people needing help with their taxes or help with some government form. Upstairs there are pre-pre-school children’s programs. Nannies with darker skin than the little kids in the strollers are lined up many mornings 10-20 deep waiting for the doors to open.

Monday, February 10, 2020

I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading has opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.’
-Malcolm X

Sunday, February 2, 2020



‘My brother was one of the bigger influences in my life, in as much as he told me I didn't have to read the choice of books that I was recommended at school, and that I could go out to the library and go and choose my own, and sort of introduced me to authors that I wouldn't have read probably. You know, the usual things like the Jack Kerouacs, the Ginsbergs, the e.e. cummings and stuff.’
                                                         ― David Bowie