“Wow! are you really reading that book, or is it just for show?”
I blinked and looked hard at a woman who, like me, was sitting at the bar. She sat several bar stools away, and was looking quizzically at my copy of Catch-22. This book had recently arrived in the mail, thanks to a devoted reader of mine who decided I needed to read it.
“No, it’s not for show, I am really reading it,” I replied uncertainly, wondering if she was making fun of me somehow.
The man sitting next to me looked interested in the book and asked me what I thought of it. I told him that I had just started the book, I was only about 50 pages into it, but it reminded me of a cross between Kurt Vonnegut and the TV series, M*A*S*H, and that Yossarian especially reminded me of Corporal Klinger. Sam, the man sitting next to me, said he had started Catch-22 several times in the past but had never managed to get very far into it.
Then somehow, two strangers in a bar in one of the biggest cities in the world, then spent several hours talking about books, of all things. We talked about all the great literature we had read, and about other books that weren’t great literature that we had also read, and then I told him that I thought that many great children’s books were often meant for adults as well as children.
Upon learning that Sam had also not read Lord of the Flies, I immediately recommended it to him. I told him that I had devoured that book in one evening, that that particular book was so well-written that it was a complete joy to read, a breath of fresh air, and it made me love great literature all the more intensely, knowing that there were still such literary gems out there, waiting for me to discover them.
So he is going to pick up that book, he said, and he is also going to give Catch-22 another try.
Anyway, there is no real point to this story, I just wanted to let you all know that unlikely things, such as talking with strangers about great literature while sitting in a bar, do happen in NYC, just like everywhere else. I also intended this little story as a “thank you” to my devoted reader (who can reveal himself if he so chooses) who sends me so many wonderful books to read, books that keep my mind busy with thoughts of literature and writing and the human condition, and truly, what better gift in the world is there than the gift of a good book?