“Every book should begin with attractive endpapers. Preferably in a dark colour: dark red or dark blue, depending on the binding. When you open the book it’s like going to the theatre. First you see the curtain. Then it’s pulled aside and the show begins.”
“I hold that book-collecting is the best of indoor sports, and I think I can provide proof; at any rate, I shall try.”
A. Edward Newton, This Book Collecting Game
“His granny taught him to read, see. I reckon it overheated his mind.”
Terry Pratchett, Mort
A man came to the shop today for a copy of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. He said he expected there won’t be many people buying books these days with the kindle and everything. Especially with young people not being able to read or anything.
I said that young people purchase and read the most books out of any other group that visit me here.
He looked pleased and he said: well I’ll be!
Then he asked about the eBook…don’t the young people all use screens, and I said, perhaps not all of them, that many young people just read anyway they can…
He said: Well I’ll be!
He thought this was the greatest news ever. I told him that many young people were avid collectors of beautiful books and were not put off (yet) by the small print that defeats the eyesight of many older readers.
He said: Well, listen to that!
Once a young reader told me that her set of twilights with the red pages was the nicest thing she owned. She placed them on her shelf with the red pages facing outward and it was like a magic garden or something.
He leaned backwards in surprise and said: Well, I’ll be!
I have The Count of Monte Cristo and it is mine. I tell people about this when they come into the shop and watch them flush with admiration or envy or disbelief or complete disinterest.
There was no need for this purchase; I have far too many books now than I can ever read.
Robert said that this is no reason to stop getting more books.
I admitted that gluttony prompted me. It is a second hand volume and, although mildly damaged, is still very handsome. It wears leather, blue and gold with crimson accessories.
It weighs as much as a small leather building.
This book has, at some point landed in a pool of water, briefly but definitely. Its underside is swollen, injured. The gold edged pages are beautiful; the book closed shows a solid gold box. But the water damage has loosened the gold edging on the bottom and it now showers me in gold whenever I pick it up, it shares its gilding with me; when I open the book to read its golden heart, more gold is thrown at me.
I keep on telling people about The Count and how I might read it in the garden on the warm evenings. I have never read The Count of Monte Cristo, only read about it…Damien said there is a TV show about it, a guy locked up like a fool and all that. Good show.
The sheer elegance of the book wins all; the sheer heft of the book wins again. And leather.
David said: you won’t like it.
One old lady said: oh dear, that uneventful thing, it went on forever.
I pack up the shop and head home through the afternoon to my good, good evening.