A warm welcome to author T.J. Masters joining us today to talk about his new Dreamspinner Press Release “Bear Among The Books”. T.J. talks to us about Libraries , shares an excerpt of his new release and brought along a giveaway for our readers!
Welcome T.J. 🙂
The World of The Library.
This book is very much centred upon the local library where Ben is the Head Librarian and is is really the catalyst which brings together all the characters and around which their lives revolve.
Libraries began as temple archives almost 5,000yrs ago. The contents were mostly trade inventories and records of transactions.in the form of clay tablets on which the cuniform text was scribed. This time marks the transition from what we think of as pre-history to historical (recorded) time. We can therefore quite rightly say that Libraries have been around for the whole of recorded human history.
Personal libraries of written books as opposed to state archives first appeared about 2,500yrs ago in Ancient Greece. The Great Library of Alexandria was constructed about 200yrs later. We think it was the Romans who built the first public libraries about 2000yrs ago. The problem with state owned libraries is that they tend to fall victim to wars or to political upheaval and so we owe a lot to the monastic libraries across Europe who copied and saved a great many older books.
With the development of writing as we know it in the Muslim world and later the invention of the printing press in Europe, libraries grew in number, size and style. The modern public library system in Britain was established by act of parliament in 1850. In the U.S. the turning point came in 1876when the American Library Association was founded and Dewey published his decimal classification system.
The onset of digital media and in particular the internet, have made a big difference to the services offered by modern libraries. In the UK most public libraries are owned and run by local authorities we have in recent years witnessed wholesale closures for reasons of cost saving. Private enterprise has come to the rescue of many threatened libraries and they are often managed by local community cooperatives or, as in the case of Librarian Ben in this story, the are reopened by inspired individuals. He is rightly seen as a local hero by all those passionate about books and reading since as we all know, nothing can replace the library experience.
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Sept 2nd, 2016
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza
Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.
With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.
“Do you really think that you can teach me to read, then?”
“I can’t promise anything, but I sure want to give it a try.”
“How long will it take?”
“That’s a good question, but the answer depends on lots of things. I hope you’re not expecting it to happen overnight?”
“No, of course not, but I really do want it now, so I will do whatever it takes. I suppose a lot depends on how much you can put up with from me.”
I smiled at this. If only he knew. “What do you really want out of this, Jason? What do you want to be doing by the end of this?”
Now he turned to stare out the window again, and a distant look came over his fresh young face.
“I’m never going to amount to much, am I? In my head I think about places I would love to go and things I wish I could do. So I want to read stories and that way I can have more adventures in my head. Books are full of so many things that I can’t get to at the moment. Travels and dreams, amazing people and places, stories and adventures. I’m never going to be able to do any of that stuff, but if I could read about it maybe that would be enough.”
I was a little scared right now that if I replied my voice would betray the deep emotions that Jason’s words had unlocked. Fortunately he continued.
“You’re so lucky here, Ben. Not only can you read, but you get to work every day in this place. It’s like being inside the biggest, richest treasure chest in the world. It’s like a bank vault for people’s dreams and experiences. Nobody is ever going to see past the dumb jock who can’t read, but maybe if I could read I could at least be happy in my head.” Now Jason turned back to look at me again. “Does that make any sense?”
I just sat staring at him momentarily, lost for words.
“What?” He had clearly picked up on my consternation.
“You amaze me, that’s all. Most of the people who can read will never understand books the way you do. What ever happened to you to cause such an intelligent boy to never learn to read?”
“That’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you one day.” Jason turned away to look out the window, but more I think to avoid looking at me.
Author T.J. Masters recently and somewhat reluctantly passed his 60th birthday. After a long and happy teaching career T.J. wanted to follow a new path before senility set in. Books and stories have been a lifelong passion and there are many tales waiting to be told.
As a happily partnered gay man T.J. chooses to write what he knows best. His overactive and ever exploring mind is probably best described by the Oscar Wilde quote that “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
Do you have a favourite library or librarian story? Tell us about it by posting in the comments here and I will choose the best one to receive a free copy of one of my previously published short stories.