Tulsa, OK -- Main Branch of the Public Library -- September 4, 2007

Everywhere I went I asked librarians the same question--do people ever come up to you and say, I'm going through this in my life, what should I read? The answer, with the exception of once, in Gillette, Wyoming where I was told they found patrons nonfiction books on disease, was "no, not usually."

As my trip neared its end, though I no longer expected an answer in the affirmative, the need to ask it gnawed at me even more intensely. I longed to people my blog with a representative sample of readers across the country, but if people weren't reading, if at train platforms and bus stops, at the tills of convenience stores and the desks of art galleries, people were sans book, staring into an unknown void with looks so extravagantly complex they seemed to say, I can't be bothered with an author's thoughts--my blog would remain unpeopled.

To this mindest, if I was not mislead by the downcast eyes and slackened or, alternatively, twisted mouth, I had a response. I wanted to stand before their injured faces and scream at them--okay, maybe not scream--get a book! get some input! go ask a librarian! Books can help you with that.

So at the Main Branch of the Tulsa Public Library, after passing a bus stop where the thickest thing being read was a folded up bus schedule, I was delighted to hear that the library had hosted a program given by Dr. Joseph Gold, a family therapist and retired English teacher who wrote a book called Read for your Life, about how books, fiction books, can be prescriptive. If a character can, from abominable depths, triumph over something you're going through, it can make anything more endurable, even fabulously do-able.

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