Two tradesmen are discussing the political biographies outside the window as they enjoy hot pies from the bakery. (It is freezing outside but they are comfortable and enjoying their break.) They say that there is no need to read these things; you can just see it all on TV, same shit, different day. But then one of them allows that the Julia Gillard book is good as his wife has read it. His friend quickly agrees.
An older man tells me his is very interested in Pat Barker and that he would like to see book shops continue.
I watched a concerned mother follow her adult daughter around the shop murmuring that there is a better edition of that book…and that book…and that book…she comes over to tell me that her daughter and granddaughter are mad for books and that she is too. The daughter certainly looks mad.
Patrick White was furious a lot too. I know because I am reading Flaws in the Glass and I have it here next to me and The Shorter Pepys.
Patrick White’s furious face. I admire it very much as I do all of his books but I don’t think I have any useful scholarly reasons. But this may in itself be useful as it leaves me more time to read and drink champagne.
A small girl says to her father who is reading Asterix and the Banquet: what do you mean that this is funny. She asks him three times and he says: wait until you grow up.
An old lady tells her grandson that he does not know what it is to get old. He asks her: but what about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and she says: let’s just sit for a while. He reminds her that it is important because his teacher is reading it to the class and she is reading it too slow. He says: hey Grandma, what book will you get then? And she tells him that she likes a nice love story or Virginia Woolf. When she was young she always read Virginia Woolf……her grandson tells her that he cannot see any wolf books.
I am asked why Nineteen Eighty Four is still so significant.
A young man, who looks like a Viking, tells me that Game of Thrones was actually based on two wars: the Hundred Year’s War AND The Wars of the Roses. People tend to think that it was only the Wars of the Roses. Do you have China Miéville? Then he tells me that he’s been waiting for Tamora Pierce to put out another book and that he’s been waiting for ten years now. He looked at his watch to demonstrate himself waiting. Then he asks for The Shepherd’s Crown (Terry Pratchett) but I don’t have it. He says that I should have has many Terry Pratchetts as possible as these books are more significant than people realise.
An older man bought One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and rode off on his motorbike with the book shoved down the front of his leather jacket.
I have some books to sort and shelve. I am keeping Pages from the Goncourt Journals (Edmond and Jules Goncourt) for myself. This is because I admired the cover and opened the book and read an entry, a reference to George Sand. I know nothing about her but I do know that I must read this book.
End of January 1852
Argument between Mme Sand and Clesinger:
Mme Sand: I’ll publish an account of your behaviour.
Clesinger: Then I’ll do a carving of your backside. And everybody’ll recognise it.
Robert comes by to pick up more volumes in his Myths and Legends Series and I show him the Goncourt Journals. He tells me that he loves the French. He said he has had three cups of good coffee and his brain is going mad…the best time to read. I said “Well, good luck with the Myths of the Middle Ages….” and he said that the election campaigns are keeping us all stuck in the middle ages anyway.