I find that when I come out of the library I’m in what I call the library bliss of being totally taken away from the distractions of life.”[Woman’s Day magazine, March 12, 2002]
Katniss: I’m coming back into focus when Caesar asks him if he has a girlfriend back home. Peeta: (Gives an unconvincing shake of head.)Caesar: Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what’s her name?Peeta: Well, there is this one girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping.Caesar: She have another fellow?Peeta: I don’t know, but a lot of boys like her.Caesar: So, here’s what you do. You win, you go home. She can’t turn you down, eh?Peeta: I don’t think it’s going to work out. Winning… won’t help in my case.Caesar: Why ever not?Peeta: Because… because… she came here with me.Caesar: Oh, that is a piece of bad luck.Peeta: It’s not good.Caesar: Well, I don’t think any of us can blame you. It’d be hard not to fall for that young lady. She didn’t know?Peeta: Not until now.
I . . . hurried to the city library to find out the true age of Chicago. City library! After all, it cannot be anything but Chicagoesque. His is the richest library, no doubt, as everything in Chicago is great in size and wealth. Its million books are filling all the shelves, as the dry goods fill the big stores. Oh, librarian, you furnished me a very good dinner, even ice cream, but—where is the table? The Chicago city library has no solemnly quiet, softly peaceful reading-room; you are like a god who made a perfect man and forgot to put in the soul; the books are worth nothing without having a sweet corner and plenty of time, as the man is nothing without soul. Throw those books away, if you don't have a perfect reading-room! Dinner is useless without a table. I want to read a book as a scholar, as I want to eat dinner as a gentleman. What difference is there, my dearest Chicago, between your honourable library and the great department store, an emporium where people buy things without a moment of selection, like a busy honey bee?The library is situated in the most annoyingly noisy business quarter, under the overhanging smoke, in the nearest reach of the engine bells of the lakeside. One can hardly spend an hour in it if he be not a Chicagoan who was born without taste of the fresh air and blue sky. The heavy, oppressive, ill-smelling air of Chicago almost kills me sometimes. What a foolishness and absurdity of the city administrators to build the office of learning in such place of restaurants and barber shops!Look at that edifice of the city library! Look at that white marble! That's great, admirable; that means tremendous power of money. But what a vulgarity, stupid taste, outward display, what an entire lacking of fine sentiment and artistic love! Ah, those decorations with gold and green on the marble stone spoil the beauty! What a shame! That is exactly Chicagoesque. O Chicago, you have fine taste, haven't you?
I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?
When my father first took me to Ennis Library I went down among the shelves and felt company, not only the company of writers, but the readers too, because they had lifted and opened and read these books. The books were worn in a way they can only get worn by hands and eyes and minds
I think I’m coming up on the ess curve, so I’m going to hang up and concentrate on driving. In the snow. Which wasn’t supposed to happen until tomorrow afternoon.Gee, Kels, I didn’t know you believed in the weatherman. Do you still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, too? How about the Easter Bunny?All right. Point taken.
I’m not sure about all the particulars that led to this moment. Do I believe life is a series of dots to be connected…or that no one can outrun destiny…or that all roads lead to truth and coincidence is a lie to distract us? The reason I was in this place no longer mattered. The harsh reality stared me in the face and demanded an immediate decision. Walk away and blame it on my age. Or stay and try to help a woman who had slowly become my friend over the last few weeks.
I write for the kid in me. . . . Often when I’m working on a story, I’ll find myself laughing at something my characters have done, or even being surprised at where they’ve taken the story. It’s as if they have a life all their own. What I do is create them and then let them go on to entertain me. . . .