The Bibliofella (see photo, right) never passes up even the least opportunity to invoke his earliest literary heroes, writers whose work helped transform the goofy adolescent I once was into, well, the adult goof I am today, a person for whom the truth-telling of novels, short stories, essays and poetry reliably point to the possibility of better worlds, even as they instruct readers on how to understand and live in this one. Indeed, a life without books is a life unexamined, unconsidered. Walk into somebody's home and note the giant flat-screen TV, all sorts of expensive ugly furniture, a terrific view, well-groomed animal companions and absolutely no fucking books (!) and understand immediately that you are in the nightmare domain of a human lacking an interior life. Turn around, and run, don't walk outta there.
In Slapstick, a late-career classic, and one of the first hardbacks I bought myself, K.V. offers a typically Twainesque deadpan cleverism on his famous scientist brother, Bernard Vonnegut:
“His laboratory was a sensational mess…where a clumsy stranger could die in a thousand different ways, depending on where he stumbled. The company had a safety officer who nearly swooned when he saw this jungle of deadfalls and snares and hair-trigger booby traps. He bawled out my brother. My bother said this to him, tapping his own forehead with his fingertips: 'If you think this laboratory is bad, you should see what it's like in here.'”
Ditto the Bibliofella's brain, vis a vis my home library, scattered, stacked, piled with books (I still own that copy of Slapstick), my favorite literary locale, second only to any number of great OC-area bookstores you might already know about and which I commence boostering forthwith. You might forgo your delivery from the lovely naked Amazonian and instead visit one. And if you want to start out big, but also on a budget, here arrives the Fullerton Public Library annual used books sale, sponsored by its Friends auxiliary. Bring a bag or a box, and a friend! Three days of healthy used-books fetishism begins Friday, March 9 through Sunday, at the Main Library, 353 Commonwealth Avenue. Maureen Gebelein, Library Director, reminds me to mention that there's a Friends of FPL Bookstore too, all year long.