The Imps of Reading


I like to listen to the people that visit my bookshop. I like to hear what they read and to discover the strong and fabulous details of why and how.

A lady brings in her friend to show her the shop, the books, just everything. But her friend is not impressed. She has unfortunately read everything that is on her reading list and there is nothing new here. She is confident to condemn The Magic Pudding as ordinary and that it’s a pity that as a children’s book, it simply fails to deliver. The lady who brought her in agrees and looks sad. Then her friend announces a headache and says she must leave now.

There is a lady just outside the door on her phone; she is loudly telling her mother that she ought to read Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.  Her mother must be objecting…. but she is told that she is going to read it regardless, as it has just been purchased for her birthday.  The lady urges her mother to realise that it is good to have new books added to her (faulty) reading list. Then they discuss eggs, and then an upcoming family event.

The lady puts her phone back in her pocket and comes back inside, she passes the lady who is suffering from headaches and they are two busy ships, passing in the night. The imps of reading lists will not let them rest.

I just want to go on exploring what there else is.


I just want to go on exploring what there else is.

A child tells her father this as she is kneeling amongst spilt horse books. I might want this Arabia Nights. But he mishears her; he refers to the book as Raising’s Nights. He goes off into the other room and is shuffling around in the True Crime. She finds him there and hands him Inkheart and returns to her search. But he leaves Inkheart in Travel. He weaves back into the front room with Lee Child but she is not interested in that! She places of copy of Tales of Deltora on the counter.

He asks finally: do you want this book on Raising’s Nights? But she does not want that book, she has never heard of it.  She chooses instead My Sister Sif by Ruth Park and then, thoughtfully, The Magic Pudding. There is also the Deltora. They have forgotten Inkheart, it remains in Travel.

As they leave and continue down the street, they are each staring down at their own books.