It is hot today. Customers are exhilarated and expansive because Christmas is over and the Hard Work is done.
A lady who suffers terribly from insomnia tells me that this is lucky as it gives her so much time to read. Her husband said that he has no time to read, never has had. He looked at the volumes of Ngaio Marsh she had set aside to buy. He said he doesn’t know where his time goes these days. She told him that it has probably gone to the pub.
A little girl asked for Harry Potter but her mother reminded her that there would be no time to read it. So best leave it.
Kerry said he can get through one thriller a night. I asked Robert how long it might take him to get through The Gnostic Mysteries and he said he will never be done with that book, even after he dies he will still be reading it. And when the government discovers his body still reading it they had better be worried.
A little boy said he could read a Geronimo Stilton in 5 minutes but his sister said that this was a lie.
I have time to continue polishing the cover of a Henry James (Selected Novels and Stories) an impressive 1087 pages, and to think about Daisy Miller.
Fran picked up her order and said that there is no technology yet that can track what happens to the human mind when we are reading. It can track the activity of the brain but not of the mind.
I tried to imagine what my mind was doing at the end of Bel Canto or at the beginning of Darius Bell and the Crystal Bees.
Robert, who is still here, said that if the government knew what his mind was thinking when he was reading they would put the watch dogs onto him. We asked him what he is reading (besides the Gnostic Mysteries) and he said The Greek Myths by Robert Graves. And that we would find out more about what’s going on in the world by reading that book or Homer because everything in the newspapers is an insult to intelligence. And that includes the weather.
There were some new visitors from interstate. He was hilarious because he had just found a copy of The Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett and it is the Exact Book he is up to. ‘I’ve got so many books to read, so many, just so many, we are always just buying other ones. I sit there in the caravan park and I’m just laughing out loud, it’s so funny. I will have to read for ever. I think it’s possible, that’s why we get so many. I am collecting every book by Terry Pratchett, I read them more than once and they actually GET FUNNIER.
Then at the end of the day, a small boy asked me for a Christmas book that had been in the window last week. He said he saw it and wanted it and when I brought out the stories that were left he pointed to a heavy dark green Faber anthology of Christmas stories and poetry. His mother told him that it was a book for adults. His father told him to leave it until he was older. But he gave me all his money and whispered that it was the one he wanted. He defended his choice patiently to his parents, told them that this book would NOT run out of pages. The other books there would run out of pages. He was 6 years old.
But I understand. I have been reading Henry James for a long time and there is no end in sight. This pleases me too.