Monday, August 13, 2007

Home is where the books are

As a companion piece to Matt's post about those who buys books by the yard, here's a lovely story by Jim Dwyer from Saturday's New York Times about a man whose home is books - Kurt Thometz. And I didn't know this was possible, he owns a New York book store I have never heard of - Jumel Terrace Books. It's in a neighborhood full of gorgeous old homes and lovely gardens, that receives little traffic by those who visit New York - North Harlem. There's also a tie-in with one of this blog's topics as Mr. Thometz son, Adam, is said to have autism:
By the age of 5, Adam had not yet spoken an intelligible word - not Mommy, not Daddy, not milk or no. Mr. Thometz read to him every night for two and a hlaf years. With Adam in the crook of his arm, the weight of the day on him, Mr. Thometz was reading Thomas the Tank Engine for the 200th time.

"Henry the engine," he read.

"Green," Adam interrupted.

Yes: the proper name was Henry the Green engine. Mr. Thometz had dropped the word. "He supplied it,k" Mr. Thometz said. "It was the first time he had used a word on purpose." And it was the first rung on the ladder he climbed from his isolation.

This is not a story of scientific explanation - I don't know how or by whom his son was diagnosed, etc., and the reading is not discussed as formal "treatment." But it is a lovely story about a man persisting and finally reaching across the divide to his son with the power of a story.

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