Cats would not make so bold a show of revulsion, yet we, as cat owners (a term that belongs to the theater of the absurd, as both parties are aware), are wearily mindful of the gambits by which superiority is vaunted: the courteous sniff that precedes the refusal of food; the glowering retreat to an aerie, in the opposite corner of the room; the turning of the tail. Dog lovers—and such beings do exist—derive much joy from their Dobermans, their quaking Chihuahuas, and everything in between, and we should not begrudge them that delight; to be ceaselessly gratified by one’s pet, however, and to find one’s love returned with interest, on all occasions, is bad education for the soul. Cat people, on the other hand, know what it is to be adored and then rejected, with no explanation, in the space of a single minute, with the purr switched off like an alarm clock. They know, like Powers’s priests, Father Burner included, that the world is a treacherous vale, undeserving of our trust, and that to be humbled, if only by a dish of untouched ham, is the beginning of wisdom. Blessed are the cat-mad, for they shall be driven up the wall.
Alexandra Schwartz writes about France’s efforts to keep bookselling local in the age of Amazon: http://nyr.kr/19Adl36
“A good bookstore is more than a place to shop. It’s a civic space, a place made for run-ins and chance encounters with the kind of people you actually want to encounter. You go there to look at more than just books.”