If you want to fall in love with a reader, go where the readers go. The late Ray Bradbury met his future wife, Marguerite McClure, at Fowler’s Bookstore in Los Angeles when he was 22 years old.
It was not love at first sight. McClure, who was clerking at the store, accused Bradbury of shoplifting.
“He carried a briefcase and wore a trench coat on a clear day, so I was immediately suspicious,” she remembered later. “I expected him to slam his briefcase down on a pile of books and make off with a few. Instead, he told me he was a writer and invited me to have a cup of coffee with him.”
She said yes, perhaps smitten with Bradbury’s line: “I’m going to the moon someday. Wanna come?” As readers around the world know, the young writer wasn’t exactly lying. During his influential and award-winning career, the author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles took readers to other planets, other dimensions, and other times.
McClure was the first woman Bradbury ever dated—and the last. They were married in 1947 and remained married for fifty-six years until McClure’s death in 2003.
So what’s the lesson from Bradbury and McClure’s romance? Are we suggesting that single book lovers should browse their local libraries and bookstores, acting like a shoplifter? Probably not. (But if you do, please write and let us know how that goes.)
Instead, maybe we’ll take away the simple truth that a type of magic can exist wherever books and readers gather.
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