I have long been a Kurt Vonnegut fan, having read most of his books in my pre-kid twenties. His books are interesting, stimulating, and often amusing. Before I turned over a working third of my brain to playdatestantrumsnightmaresdaycare... breathe ...carpoolsballetclassGirlScoutsattentionissuesdramacamp, Vonnegut challenged my developing intellect. His books are monumental in the course of American Literature and significant in my own reading life.
As it turns out, he thought a lot of me as well. Actually not me specifically, but my kind, my people. This quote won’t be new to many of you. I have a copy of it on the wall in front of my desk where I can see it every day that I work.
And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.I missed the chance to name him as the author with whom I would share a glass of wine. Darn it. But truly it isn’t me, the person today, who would have imbibed freely with this genius. It was the younger me who in naiveté would have been ironically less awed and more confident. Or the older me, world-wise, who could have also been less awed and more confident. Today’s me will drink a glass of wine tonight, and think about courage in writing against the grain, courage in standing up for what you believe, and courage in living a cogitative life. God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.
From “I Love You Madame Librarian” or Man Without a Country