“I would like to have your sureness…”

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Many people who used to visit the shop are now gone, and I know that some of them are no longer alive. I am glad that I recorded these memories.

This is from my second year in the shop.

“Margaret told yesterday me that in her reading group anyone can choose the books. And these are the books she wants: Bel Canto, Gould’s Book of Fish, Tulip Fever, Birds Without Wings, The Commandant, and Still Alice (the one about Alzheimer’s), and also Mrs Jordan’s Profession by Claire Tomelin. And that should do for now!! She said that often the members of the reading group are not even reading the same book, hahaha.

I do not often see anyone as happy as Margaret is when she lists off the books she needs. Her husband looks on with approval; he carries all the books out for her, beaming over the top of the stack. Sometimes he finds one for himself, usually about the Second World War.

Margaret sends books to her children who live overseas and observes that they never seem to get the point of the stories she sends them, but she sends them anyway. Like I said, I do not often meet people as happy as Margaret. I would like to have her sureness.

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life….”

June came over the road to lend to me her copy of A Parrot in a Pepper Tree, the funniest thing she has read in ages. She said that Writers’ Week was divine, and she bought ‘that thing on Keating, the one by Kerry O’Brien, and I’m telling you it is an absolute tome! It’s a winter read, can’t wait till the winter, it’s just the thing, and I’ll lend you when I’m done! But before that I’m doing the Gillard.’

Robert told me that he is wanting to collect volumes of myths and legends, tales of all countries because he cannot complete his work without them. He said he knows what he must read, his work tells him, his heart tells him, it is his passion.

He asked for a copy of Marion Woodman’s The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter. This is a Jungian study of the repressed feminine and also vital for his studies. He said that his own feminine light was put out when he was young.

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life.” Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world.”

A new customer told me that the books that had the biggest impact on his life were Jean Auel’s The Earth’s Children series. He felt that the author had devoted her entire life to the research and writing: an incredible achievement.  He said that he had a friend in France that once held up some road works there because he thought he recognised some ancient symbols etched into a cliff face they were excavating. This friend became hysterical and demanded that all work immediately stop and it did! He insisted that these might be runes of some kind, but, well, anyway they weren’t runes, they were marks made by the bucket on the road excavator. Everyone was mad with him.

 “I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life.” Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone.”

To find some fragment of something that makes you so happy that you cannot stop talking about it, is a great thing. Any small fragment of something that is dear to you (for whatever reason) gives buoyancy. But the visitors here at my book shop, who tell me their stories of what they love, do not seem to realise how their happiness quietly radiates. How they make their own world, on their own terms.”

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life. Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. And then love will come to you, then it comes to you.” Anais Nin

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

I brought you a tomato.

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It is not hard to begin the day when you have been given a tomato.

I was presented with this tomato, a gift, because I had a lucky copy of Cranford which was urgently needed. All day I looked at the tomato because I have never been given such a grateful or unusual or heartfelt gift.

A young man who bought The Little World of Don Camillo said that the tomato was a nice one and that all Don Camillo books were iconic.

Janet bought a copy of Go Set a Watchman because it is on her reading list for next month and hopefully she will get in ahead of time. She said sadly that she cannot keep up with her group no matter how fast she reads. That Pepys got in the way of Salt Creek. And Salt Creek was just flung aside… but then Lady of Hay moved in the front of everything but now she was reading Oliver Sacks. And so on…

I showed her The Commonwealth of Thieves and said that this book came up because of Gould’s Book of Fish and had taken over Olive Kitteridge even though both books were equally good. I said sadly that now I was being devastated by Game of Thrones and that I could not cope with the death of Lady, the wolf hound. Janet was horrified and said I should have tried to hold out for longer. She herself had the whole set at home but had not read them and couldn’t tell her son as he had given them to her for her birthday. I showed her my gift, a tomato, and she said it was a fitting tribute to Cranford because that was written by Elizabeth Gaskell. As she left she told me that her reading group are doing Gone Girl which is good but the sex scenes are far too graphic for her. Also the group does a thorough physiological analysis of the text but she herself just wants to enjoy it.

I had a small amount of time to remove a spider and look through the Game of Thrones paperbacks to consider the reading commitment.

I am told that Elizabeth Jolley does not let the reader make any easy judgements.

Andrew drops in to explain the history of the Lannister family and the brilliant character of Tyrion Lannister. Andrew is sympathetic regarding the death of the wolf hound but warns me not to become emotionally involved with the characters.

A lady has a long conversation on her phone about being in a coma. Then she buys three books by Mary Gentle and tells me that they will come in useful.

I am asked for Rachael Treasure and Herman Hesse

A lady tells me how to dispose of unwanted books and cutlery.

Another customer, looking through the Boy and Beast books with her grandsons tells me that she is really into books. “But where I used to work we couldn’t even give them away, it’s good to see people still trying.”

She tells her grandsons about William Shakespeare, that he was a great literary artist. But one brother was looking through his Skulduggery book and did not attend her information and the other just wanted to go to the bakery.

Harry is looking for King Arthur books and recites several times for me his lines in the play: Young King Arthur and the story of Excalibur.

“And you sir are a rapscallious rascally hooligan and the first cousin of a degenerate scoundrel.”

I am impressed and another customer, David, tells him to keep up the good work. He said he was quite an actor himself a long time ago and once acted in King Lear.

David is here to find a gift for a true friend who lives in Tailem Bend; he is searching for not just anything and wants a book that can express a lifetime of gratitude. I said that I understood; that I too have such a friend. He tells me he might go for Herman Hesse.

He asks about the tomato on my table and I tell him it was a gift and he says the simplest things are the most profound and that I should hand it on, symbolic of all things true.

Serenity, who has dropped in to help me pack up, says that I should eat the tomato and that for a present she would rather have Hover Soccer.

I am barely surviving my reading group!

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David came into the shop this morning and confessed that he is barely surviving his reading group:

“I have to tell you that I barely surviving it. I like if of course but I am really not even sure about that. There is such a frantic race to share our information, but….I am not sure if….we are allowing the books to do their job when we are forever….pecking out themes and plots and opinions…how can a book do its job if we are firing such a barrage of ammunition at it, we don’t let it anywhere near us really…”

“Oh God, what am I saying? Do you have any Herman Hesse? Or Lilly Brett? God, I need Lilly Brett to get me through the reading group.”

Later, after David had gone, a lady said this: “Frank McCourt is my favourite book, Angela’s Ashes, oh my darling, oh my heart, I can’t tell you, it made me so happy, I just love him.”

This lady leaned back and closed her eyes and said again: “I can’t tell you, it just makes me smile it was such a splendid book but I cannot tell you why. Every night we are in bed early you know, both of us dying to get at the books. Isn’t that a disaster! I had a list but I’ve lost it, I’ll just ask my husband, he’s outside minding the dog.”

And he was outside, looking through the window at his wife and tapping the glass toward the biographies. He was also minding the dog, which was called Butter. They all three of them seemed incredibly happy. Later, they went back across the road hand in hand carrying The Uncommon Reader and The Life of Pi and she was reading from the back covers out loud to her husband.

All reading, when we allow it, adds to our survival value. All readers are gradually accumulating imperishable resources with which to transcend our wear and tear. This wear and tear unites us all.

Geoffrey was reading aloud to himself from his volume of Catalina by Somerset Maugham which he had just purchased. This caused him to run into the door and he said: “bother YOU Somerset Maugham, your last book has just caused me a head injury.”

Late in the day, Mr Reedy sat reading Hiawatha near the heater and then he came to show me a book he carried around and was very much enjoying: Positive Education: A Victorian Context .He showed me many of the photographs and read pieces of the text to me.

He said that when he attended to Geelong Grammar School he had the most miserable time. And he, a mere clergyman’s son, was no match for the elite hoards of THAT day and he suffered for it. And so he discovered reading. And when he became a master at one of the Melbourne Grammar schools, he had another miserable time. Well, thank God for reading.

“And that music master back then was a tyrant, a rogue and rotten to the socks. But now…look at it now, look at way education has changed, it’s marvellous. Look at this book, I’ve never read the like. Things have changed and it is for the better! The only thing they had right back then was giving us Rudyard Kipling.”

Ashley, who is 12, said that she can pick which book she wants to read next just by looking through the window each day. Then she goes to the library and gets that book. She said that I could change the books in the window more often.

Leah asked me how I was going with The Stone Diaries.

It is a quiet day so I shall begin The Stone Diaries  and then change the books in the front window.

 

 

“I would like to have your sureness…”

vittorio-matteo-corcos-sogni

Margaret told yesterday me that in her reading group anyone can choose the books. And these are the books she wants: Bel Canto, Gould’s Book of Fish, Tulip Fever, Birds Without Wings, The Commandant, and Still Alice (the one about Alzheimer’s), and also Mrs Jordan’s Profession by Claire Tomelin. And that should do for now!! She said that often the members of the reading group are not even reading the same book, hahaha.

I do not often see anyone as happy as Margaret is when she lists off the books she needs. Her husband looks on with approval; he carries all the books out for her, beaming over the top of the stack. Sometimes he finds one for himself, usually about the Second World War.

Margaret sends books to her children who live overseas and observes that they never seem to get the point of the stories she sends them, but she sends them anyway. Like I said, I do not often meet people as happy as Margaret. I would like to have her sureness.

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life.”

June came over the road to lend to me her copy of A Parrot in a Pepper Tree, the funniest thing she has read in ages. She said that Writers’ Week was divine, and she bought ‘that thing on Keating, the one by Kerry O’Brien, and I’m telling you it is an absolute tome! It’s a winter read, can’t wait till the winter, it’s just the thing, and I’ll lend you when I’m done! But before that I’m doing the Gillard.’

Robert told me that he is wanting to collect volumes of myths and legends, tales of all countries because he cannot complete his work without them. He said he knows what he must read, his work tells him, his heart tells him, it is his passion.

He asked for a copy of Marion Woodman’s The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter. This is a Jungian study of the repressed feminine and also vital for his studies. He said that his own feminine light was put out when he was young.

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life.” Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world.”

A new customer told me that the books that had the biggest impact on his life were Jean Auel’s The Earth’s Children series. He felt that the author had devoted her entire life to the research and writing: an incredible achievement.  He said that he had a friend in France that once held up some road works there because he thought he recognised some ancient symbols etched into a cliff face they were excavating. This friend became hysterical and demanded that all work immediately stop and it did! He insisted that these might be runes of some kind, but, well, anyway they weren’t runes, they were marks made by the bucket on the road excavator. Everyone was mad with him.

 “I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life.” Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone.”

To find some fragment of something that makes you so happy that you cannot stop talking about it, is a great thing. Any small fragment of something that is dear to you (for whatever reason) gives buoyancy. But the visitors here at my book shop, who tell me their stories of what they love, do not seem to realise how their happiness quietly radiates. How they make their own world, on their own terms.

“I would like to have your sureness. I am waiting for love, the core of a woman’s life. Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. And then love will come to you, then it comes to you.” Anais Nin

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934