Mid­dle­march The Golden Note­book,

Country Life Every Week - - Another Country -

Some­where between and I de­cided my spir­i­tual home was Eng­land

My be­lief in and love of books may be wildly dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the im­por­tant things in life, but I reckon my in­debt­ed­ness to the printed word is only ex­ceeded by my debt to my par­ents for giv­ing me the DNA of a book­worm. They were both read­ers in a dry state, in which the only book­shop was the Bap­tist Book­store in a town 85 miles away.

Like the bour­bon they also en­joyed, books had to be ac­quired in New Or­leans as well as from the Book of the Month Club. The town li­brary was a peace­able king­dom, but the li­brar­i­ans were self-made cen­sors who with­held books they judged ‘not quite right’, which meant any­thing by John Stein­beck, F. Scott Fitzger­ald or Ernest Hem­ing­way. I was saved by Louisa May Al­cott, who re­vealed to me that there were two sides to the Civil War.

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