Tuesday, October 29, 2019

If public libraries are not for the rich, they probably are not otherwise for the poor. To understand the public library as a benevolent form of welfare would be to entirely miss the radical potential of the institution as a political project. It isn’t utopian, nor is about culturing the masses, nor offering the marginalized a space where they mustn’t “pay for coffee.” Rather the public library stands for everyone occupying the same space in solidarity about the mysteries of existence that humble us all without distinction or prejudice. It is about renouncing all certainties—all except for one: that to stand in common is, in itself to establish a common ground on which to stand.
—-Andrew Schwartz, ‘A Night at the Library’, in The Baffler

Monday, October 28, 2019

I can’t know for sure if the sign’s message is moving anything. I know that some of the people who pass me and look at the sign smile in a way you seldom see on a sidewalk.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Weeks without really reading with my wrecked shoulder recovering in a painful way that kept my left arm hurting when in a book-or-newspaper-holding way. The Times that got delivered to my door on weekends I gave to the young neighbors with their little dog across the hall. I left magazines for them too. Just this weekend I once again kept both days’ papers for myself. I’d been thinking of canceling home delivery and reading everything on line but I couldn’t make that break. For almost 65 years I’ve read newspapers. My arm hurts just a little now. Today for the first time in weeks I took the paper with me to the Sunday breakfast place I go to. It felt good to sit there with my oatmeal and green tea and just one scrambled egg and no butter on my toasted English muffin and read the paper. I left my iPhone back in my apartment. Which felt good too. I have an almost-1000-page book I think I can hold now. I think I’ll start it tomorrow.