The new volunteers

New lads volunteering at The Book Keeper book shop. Although a few troubles to begin with (aggressive sales tactics, inappropriate use of ‘the force’, wearing weapons while serving customers etc), they are now getting along quite well. Obviously they are expected to read during breaks.

And they must also use their own initiative to promote the stock.

That’s not Obi Wan..


A father is shopping here with his son and tells him that the picture on this book is actually Obi Wan Kenobi. The book is up high, balanced on the edge of the shelf. The child leans back, arching his back. He lengthens his face, expresses acute and outraged disbelief.

He says: there is no way that that is Obi Wan Kenobi because it’s not even him. His dad tells him that it actually really is. The boy laughs.

It isn’t. I can tell.

His dad looked down at him and said: may the force be with you.


Moby Dick


aaron-burden-236415.jpgA young boy came in to the shop with his father and was anxious for a copy of Moby Dick, which was his favourite book. I only had a volume that contained Moby Dick and Omoo and Typee and Israel Potter. I was doubtful of this 1700 page volume but the child reassured me that this was ok, he had already read all of these and they were as good as anything. He said that Moby Dick was a good book, as good as Star Wars or anything like that.

His father stood patiently by.

The child then said that Moby Dick is just more exciting than the other versions, it is just more exciting….than…the other versions. And it is as good as Uluru. He did not explain this last statement but instead went to another shelf to get a Star Wars Encyclopaedia which he was getting for his teacher.

I’m getting this for my teacher. He’s a really really really really big fan of Star Wars. He’ll really get into this.

He stood there, confident, pushing his glasses back to the correct position, squared up and facing the world, his enormous world full of enormous books, glowing and supreme, while his father stood patiently by.

Photography by Aaron Burden

Yes, I am a Dreamer



A young mum asked me if I thought that books would become obsolete. But her son, about 10 years old, answered her before I could:

‘No, I think that most of the books will just go back to the library and go back on the right shelves.’

Lucas collects books in strict format and is anxious to add all of the volumes in a set to his own library as quickly as possible. Today he is feeling brilliant because he found two volumes of Boy and Beast at the back of a shelf after I told him that I thought that I didn’t have any. He said:

‘I didn’t look until the very last minute at the back of the shelf, it is incredible, and I found these and also volume three and four of Zac Powers and it is the Mega Missions. I really wish that all the Star Wars stuff would get with the Beast Quest books and have the same stories. I know how it would happen, with Darth Vader and that. The stories would be so cool and then they could still just have the Star Wars books if they wanted to. But sometimes they should let the Star Wars people out and let them go into other books. At school the teacher says to write my own ideas and have my own ideas but that IS my idea. So at home I let my Star Wars books be next to Beast Quest and also next to Sea Quest.’

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight……………..”  Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

Photography by Pawel Kadysz