The Breakfast Table

Book Plugs, Thank Yous, and Goodbyes

Dear Chris,

I don’t know an author who doesn’t take every chance to mention his latest book (currently in a bookstore near you). But in four days, you haven’t. So let me tout Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think. Do you think Bill O’Reilly would be so modest? As the host of your book party and the person who sometimes listens to whole chapters on the phone, I want to tell everyone it’s a wonderful window on you and a certain kind of childhood we both had, revolving around the parish, the bullies in the neighborhood, priests who didn’t molest (not that I know of), and nuns whose devotion made it possible for me to live the life I do. How many of us got out of the old neighborhood and to college because Sister Mary William was determined to make it so?

I’ve only had one news peg to write about the nuns (the use of vouchers in parochial schools) and heard back from some of those who taught me. They know that they didn’t just send me to college but to Time and to these pages. Neither they nor I imagined I would get to write what’s on my mind in Slate two times a day for a week. In small-town Pennsylvania, we didn’t think that way.

In addition to the nuns, I owe Michael Kinsley the most. He brought me to the NewRepublic, having bought some pieces I wrote at the kitchen table when I was dandling Courtney on my knee. So writing for Slate is coming home. Hey Michael, did I ever say thank you?

And to you Chris, let’s do this again. Same time, next year.

Yrs always,