"There's this tea place in Hillcrest. It would be a great place for you to bring one of your many books."
I had told my new friend about my spontaneous collection of 200-odd literary classics. I had told him about my favorite book, The Magic Mountain, that it was set in a sanatorium in Switzerland before the outbreak of World War I, that it was an allegory for the intellectual milieu of prewar Europe, that it was seven or eight hundred pages long, that well it sounded pretty dull but it was, uh, great. I had offered a self-conscious little silence.
I had told him about something very important, this bookshelf, that fills me with many shades of trembling.
The blonde, a month before - she seemed too pretty for Thomas Mann. She said vague things about him over the music of the bar. Then she pummeled a guy in a wifebeater with her ass.
What to do with this strange impulse, to hear voices removed by centuries and oceans, to make sure others do as well.