Boooom!

Screenshot_2017-11-18-12-31-17-1

There is a child here in the shop, unhappy because there are no Star Wars books left for him. But his sister has found The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the orange one, and he is also uncomfortable with her success. He says that he has read all of those books anyway.

She says: Booooom!

She has found The Search for Wondla. He says: oh that!  He needs to be dismissive. She answers: Oh Booooom!

Now she has two books and he has none. He asks me for I Am Number Four, I understand the urgency, but I don’t have it. He looks quickly at his sister but she is absorbed, kneeling on the floor with A Day in The Life of a Roman Child…he walks over and says: I know that book.

She doesn’t answer.

He is scanning the shelves and table, quickly, needing a discovery.

On the windowsill, he finds The Hobbit, facing outward, easily missed.

He lifts it off the windowsill and onto himself, against his chest, not breathing, holding it as children will when they find something of diabolical value. It is a paperback edition, a large one in poor condition, illustrated, the dragon on the front stirring in a nest of boiling jewels.

His sister has noted his silence and gazes over at him suddenly. He says: I’m getting this. He has one shoulder raised against her, protecting the dragon.

Their mother returns, she hurries them along, pleased that they have chosen, pleased with her own books, not seeing theirs, missing the acute joy, encouraging their libraries as she also builds her own.

 

Mine

20171005_163447

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished

clark-young-135144

I have finished Cloudstreet and The Joy Luck Club.

A lady said she had just finished Middlemarch and is now looking for Tess of the D’Urbervilles. She has a collection of classics, lined up side by side and looking good.

Thomas has finished Gangsta Granny and now is looking for Demon Dentist. And Gavin has finished a biography of Jimmy Barnes. Lena has finished Miss Purdy’s Class by Annie Murray which was too confronting. She said the English writers really get down to it.

Jay was disappointed that I had no more from The Order of the Stick series; he said where is Amazon at? They aren’t even doing anything to get the books in. Margaret has finished all of the Alexander McCall Smiths and is sad about it. She was going home to have a cup of tea and some toast.

And I have finished Cloudstreet.  I need a long time to finish thinking about it. I mentioned it to one reader but he said he could not get on well with Tim Winton. He said he just didn’t agree with him. Although the Pickles and the Lambs were ok, sort of.

I thought that I have finished listening to you but I could not quite say it, sort of.

Photography by Clark Young

Life is an icecream.

14805530_1422700121078264_771221204_n

An earnest young woman explained to me some details of her thesis on George Eliot’s Silas Marner. She talked about rationalism and the connection to community and the spiritual climb to redemption. She said she is moving to Strathalbyn because it has the correct number of bookshops which is any number more than zero.

I remember reading Silas Marner. He was a weaver.

I was asked for Theodore Roethke: The Collected Verse and Bel Canto. I was asked to put aside some Manga books please.

I was asked for Tagore. Because his writing is so very beautiful. The young woman stood for a long time trying to find the words to describe Tagore.

Leon came by to make sure that everything is ok. I asked him about his reading and he said: well, that’s another story. As he left a woman and her mother came in and spend a long time in the crime fiction. When they left, the young woman said: I told you mum, I told you that I just go in there, in that shop, right, and I just freaking find stuff. Oh my God.

Her mum said: that is all very well but right now my hip is aching.

I was asked if I had Annie Dillard and I do. The reader said he wakes up and reads early each day. Reads until the break of day. Every day.

I am envious of the break of day reader and wished that I had thought of doing this first. Roy comes in with a hopeful list of outback novels for me to look out for. I tell him about the man who reads for hours every morning but Roy said that he would prefer to sleep.

I am asked for Faunaverse which was only published a few months ago. There is time for me to continue with Edith Wharton and to clean all of the windows and to listen to an argument that is raging across the road over a car park. One driver says: Well, you can’t park here mate, that’s all I can say so don’t be a moron about it.

I go to pay my electricity rates and feel resentful.

Peggy has sent a family messenger with some books for me and a message that life is an icecream. I ring her but she does not answer. I always urge her to wear her hearing aid but she says it is a bugger of a thing and refuses to use it, just as she refuses to wear her glass eye. But this has never stopped her from getting the most out of life. Nothing has ever done that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snails are a good thing too…

our-own-fairytale-world-57339724d022d__880

I was asked for Oakleaf Bearers, Erak’s Ransome and Heir of Fire. I was asked about Theodore Roethke. I was told about the Country Women’s Association and the Calendar of Cakes and I delighted a reader because I had book one of Game of Thrones.

An old lady told me that her hardcover edition of Winnie the Pooh with illustrations by Ernest Shepard disappeared with her daughter in law. She said she would not go into the rest of that story.

Outside it is warm and quiet. A man tells me that there is no wall of their home that is not filled with books.

I continue with The New York Stories of Edith Wharton. I try to portion them off and read fairly but it is not easy. It is like eating a long rope of good liquorice, it is not possible to be sensible with it. Mrs Manstey’s View, A cup of Cold Water, The Quicksand, The Rembrandt…..

A child lurches forward and hurls a book onto the counter. It is I’ll Show You a Blue Kangaroo and I catch it neatly. His mother comes forward and she is horrified. He regards her closely. He said: you said I hap to. She said no, no, no, no, not like that. He continues to regard her curiously. He said again: you said I hap to.

His young mother apologises and tells me they are from Yorkshire, she said her son is unusual, he loves books but most of all he loves snails. She looks worried. He is now staggering forward with three more books and Robert,  who has just come in, tells him: good work! He drops all of the books on Robert’s shoes and Robert is delighted. He says to the young mother that snails are a good thing too.

He is here to pick up his Journey to the West by Anthony C. Yu in four volumes two of which I do not have…but his is attending to the small boy and the scattered story books and does not hear me.

 

Photography by Signefotar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literally Really Good!

mirrored-babel-tower-that-we-made-to-move-according-to-the-weather-conditions__880

 

Lucas, who is 10, told me that his book Mister Monday by Garth Nix was ‘literally good, literally really good’. He told me that he kept it on the top of the top pile at home because it is so good. Normally he stacks them from large to small but lately he has been stacking them from bad to good. (He has 5 stacks of books in his room, one nearly up to the window ledge).

As it is mostly quiet this week, I can look at the books people have lent me because they are so literally really good. Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach is Fabulous and The Garden Going on Without Us by Lorna Crozier is Outrageous. The Nutmeg Tree by Margery Sharp is Exquisite and Lighthouse Keeping by Jeanette Winterson is Devastating. Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller is Just So Good. Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto will Cause Me to Die. Helen Garner is Confronting, Disturbing and Ought to be Read. Possum Magic by Mem Fox is Super.

By the time I have considered them all, there are more visitors, more requests and more questions….

Has Stan Grant put his next book out yet? Apparently it was supposed to be available yesterday.

Why is Welding for off Road Fabrication only available on kindle?

What time does the bakery close?

Why did they change the covers of the Ranger’s Apprentice series? The old covers are good but the new covers are stupid.

Did I know the book about the Australian town that had a damper making competition and the swagman won the competition and everyone was pissed off?

Did I think that the kindle was killing the book trade?

Did I know that my door hinges were creaking?

Robert described an important vision he had recently and as soon as he worked out which books were in that vision he would get me to find them for him. He said: imagine dying with lots of money but with an empty head! Imagine not reading at all! When I die, my whole library is coming with me!