She carried the books; he carried her bag so she could carry the books

This lady has been here before, but I don’t remember her husband. Anyway, she just kept on piling the books up. She found it hard to reach upwards; she asked me to pull this one down, and that one down, and now maybe that one. The books were all classics, and she’d read them all before. She was excited to get Brett Easton Ellis, and then again to get On the Road.

He carried her handbag over his arm. He said to me, ‘You wait, we won’t be able to get all of these in the car!’ And he looked at her proudly.

He walked around the shop. He found one book for himself. When they left, he carried everything because she was reading as she walked and had no hands to spare.

Fancy what a game of chess would be…

“Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary’s men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden.

You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with the game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for his instruments.”

George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical

Sculpture “Modern Chess Set” by Rachel Whiteread

Life is an icecream.

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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.