Sunday, April 8, 2007


Looking through my bookshelves, I noticed that many of my books have photographs on the covers. The Penguin classics all have details of paintings, but most of the book jacket designs include photography or one photograph. I was looking for an interesting book jacket illustration, so I gave up and decided to just pull out every book that had the word "Love" in the title, put them on a table and photograph them. That might lead to something interesting, maybe. Looking through all those books, I was very surprised to find only one book with "Love" in the title. And it had an old photograph on the cover. It was a book written by Colm Toibin. I had enjoyed all of his novels, so I bought his book on the lives of Thomas Mann, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin and others.

Last night I rediscovered this book, which I bought in Brooklyn, when I lived in Brooklyn. At the time I knew I'd leave Brooklyn, but I never thought I'd sell my apartment there, so I figured I could always go back. I ended up selling the place eventually, and going back now is bittersweet, and makes me a little depressed, because I will never live in Brooklyn again. The book includes a great essay by Spike Lee, on the making of "Do The Right Thing" and a story by Thomas Wolfe "Only The Dead Know Brooklyn" Wolfe was from North Carolina, but made Brooklyn his home. He understood the place, at least that is the feeling I get from this wonderful short story.