by cheri block
Last week, Judge Blah and I wandered around San Luis Obispo and as always, ended up in the Phoenix Book Store where the floorboards creak and the old books smell.
An hour later, we left for a glass of wine at Blu, the lovely bar/restaurant next door. But not before rescuing several used books from their shelves.
Judge Blah chose an art book with a dust cover.
I chose a paperback, Letters of Thomas Mann 1889-1955.
Mann’s mind is deep. His writing is a mixture of political thought and of human nature. I first became interested in Mann after reading The Magic Mountain, his long book about so much, and The Death in Venice, perhaps his most famous short story, one that troubled me on many levels.
Now, I am venturing into the heart of this man. In the introduction to Letters of Thomas Mann, I have learned that he wrote over 20,000 letters and hundreds of others that were lost to the Nazis. All of his letters to his wife Katia were never recovered after he chose not to return to Munich in 1933.
At Blu, warmed by the cozy atmosphere of redbrick walls, a rich mahogany bar, and the wine, I began my practice of reading selections out loud to Judge Blah.
Letters to Alfred Knopf, his publisher; to Albert Einstein, Joseph Campbell, Louis Meyer; to his brother Heinrich and to Agnes E. Meyer, the wife of the Washington Post editor—all reveal Mann’s literary and political thoughts.
What will today’s authors leave for people like me?