Written by Anatole Broyard 1993
“I realize that people still read books now and some people actually love them, but in 1946 in the Village our feelings about books--I’m talking about my friends and myself--went beyond love. It was as if we didn’t know where we ended and books began. Books were our weather, our environment, our clothing. We didn’t simply read books; we became them. We took them into ourselves and made them into our histories. While it would be easy to say that we escaped into books, it might be truer to say that books escaped into us. Books were to us what drugs were to young men in the sixties.
They showed us what was possible. We had been living with whatever was close at hand, whatever was given, and books took us great distances. We had known only domestic emotions and they showed us what happens to emotions when they are homeless. Books gave us balance--the young are so unbalanced that anything can make them fall. Books steadied us; it was as if we carried a heavy bag of them in each hand and they kept us level. They gave us gravity.”
― Anatole Broyard, Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir