Madhu Kaza, a “writer, artist and educator,” has a possible solution for you. She’ll come into your home 15 minutes before bedtime and sit in a chair beside your bed and read to you from your favorite books until you fall asleep. Then she’ll let herself out and lock the door behind her. The free service is called Here Is Where We Meet, the title of a 2005 novel by John Berger. The only requirement is that you fill out a short questionnaire and make an appointment — and get ready to say goodbye to the sheep and the warm milk.
The 1.5 million people who live in the Bronx lack a general interest bookstore, classifying their borough as one of a growing number of “book deserts” across the country. To combat this trend, the National Book Foundation just launched “The Book Rich Environment Initiative.” Meanwhile, Juma’a Ali runs a popular bookshop in a UN-administered refugee camp near the South Sudanese city of Malakal.
“Eleven years later, the Atlantic Monthly editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, made a similar request to an obscure, retiring poet named Emily Dickinson who had written a letter asking if her verses ‘breathed.’ Her response was much like Melville’s, if typically elliptical: ‘Could you believe me—without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur—and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves—Would this do just as well?'” The age-old problem: how writers deal with publicity.
“Poe’s verses illustrate an intense faculty for technical and abstract beauty, with the rhyming art to excess, an incorrigible propensity toward nocturnal themes, a demoniac undertone behind every page—and, by final judgment, probably belong among the electric lights of imaginative literature, brilliant and dazzling, but with no heat.” – Walt Whitman on Edgar Allan Poe’s significance, circa 1880.