‘….if I had fifty three minutes to spend as I like, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.’

John Wilson.jpg

A young man asked me if he ought to read A Clockwork Orange. I said that it is a confronting book to say the least. He seemed excited and also purchased A Diamond as Big as the Ritz and Catcher in the Rye. He is not a student; he told me that he just loves to read.

Karl and Jenny buy two more Neville Shute books and they offer to lend me their entire collection.

I am asked how I find time to read. I am informed that really, there is no time to read anymore.

I am told today that Dashiell Hammett suffered diabolical health problems. There is a comment in his biography that he was possibly as skilled a writer as Ernest Hemmingway.

Outside it is grey; everybody keeps glancing at the sky…

People pass outside, heading for the bakery. They do not realise that their voices carry inside. One man says something about Moby Dick, he read  it when he was young. His friend says: huge bloody book, my mum had a copy. I wonder how my book shop made them think of Moby Dick all of sudden, there is no copy in the window.

The front road is packed with motorcyclists. They do not look at the shop.

I was asked on Monday if I had realised  the significance of the date: 04/04/16 but I had to admit that I had missed it.

I am also missing out on the football. Everything is scurrying quickly, including the summer and I am too slow. But Gould’s Book of Fish that I am reading now is not slow. Everything now is aching with Gould’s Book of Fish.

Ruth picked up her book about rocking horses and she bought photos of her collection to show me. They are very beautiful. She told me that making and restoring rocking horses is a thing of the past but it is her passion. She said that if people are unhappy, her advice is to make a rocking horse.

Somebody ordered the complete Series of Unfortunate Events.

Someone ordered any book on model railways that I can possibly find.

Apparently the weather ‘threatens a change’.

I sell a copy of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. I am asked to help reluctant readers read and good readers improve. I am asked again how I find time for reading.

Sarah tells me that the world is coming to a bad end. Scott has ordered My Side of the Mountain but has forgotten to come back for it.

I accept a book to sell here on consignment and the author is delighted. The book is massive and must have taken a long time to write. I am impressed with how much she loves it herself.

A tiny boy stands at the window and says quite clearly “kitty cat…” eight times before his parents demand that he be quiet….. “…move away from that window, sir!”

Daryl buys a biography of Charlie Chaplin and tells me that the first thing any elected politician does is to demand a pay rise and write a book on why they were born to lead. And then…that’s it!

Richard introduced me to his friend, Cyril when he picked up his book The Ballad of Desmond Kale….they are on their way to play golf and then to the pub for dinner. His friend, Cyril is 6 months younger than Richard, that makes him 91. Richard tells me that Cyril had 6 kids and they are all useless.

Max orders The Little Prince, he is up to his 12th read of this book and he wondered if I realised that the books is heavily symbolic of life and humanity and is tremendously wise. He advised me to re-read and think deeply especially about chapter 13, page 71 where the little prince meets the merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. I said that I would do this.

‘Good morning,’ said the little prince.

‘Good morning,’ said the merchant.

This was the merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only to swallow one pill a week and you would feel no need of anything to drink.

‘Why are you selling those?’ asked the little prince.

“Because they save a tremendous amount of time’, said the merchant. ‘ ‘Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty three minutes in every week.’

‘And what do I do with those fifty three minutes?’

‘Anything you like…’

‘As for me, said the little prince to himself, if I had fifty three minutes to spend as I like, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.’

The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint- Exupery

Photography by John Wilson