You would think that people who come to bookshops just look at books.
People become what they are looking for, and they cease to exist (here).
It isn’t about hunting for a bargain.
People stare. Young people inhale a sharp breath. Some readers rove silently and notice things like the noise next door, colours, shelving, fonts. Their backs go tense whenever they recognise something.
Some only look for one thing, and then usually leave without it, still cheerful.
‘Oh well, worth a try. I’ve been on the prowl for it for about, I don’t know, probably a hundred years or more.’ They rise up on their toes to show endurance.
On old lady, when I found her a copy of Lost Adelaide, said, ‘I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!’
She banged her purse on the counter and leaned back to laugh at the roof. She had lived in a cottage on West Terrace in the city centre as a kiddie. That old house is in this book. She comes to Strathalbyn every six months to have her car serviced and walks slowly up to my shop wearing shoes made of determination.
Many people whisper. Some say that certain books are shit. Conversations flicker; people talk to themselves, unaware.
There is a body language for books.
Linger, fingertip the books, stand on one hip, nod to nobody, hunch shoulders, shiver. Sing a few notes. Sigh. Die. Take the argumentative stance. Gaze in a daze. Drop down to the floor, read on knees in absolute silence.
Children bring their bikes and scooters in for safe keeping.
One small girl danced with a book balanced on her elbow. She swayed slowly, and the book rocked willingly with her. She said, ‘Look at this’, to her brother, who frowned and did not look up.
He kept reading, and she danced magnificently on.