The Moonstone

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A young reader is here, staring through the Oxford World Classics. She puts her bag, which is loaded up with the day, down on the floor. She has rested her hand, palm out, across the spines of the books and is leaning into them. I think she is reading the titles.  For the Term of His Natural Life, The Moonstone, Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, The Red Badge of Courage and she runs her finger down each spine. She is whispering something as she reads them. Then she sighs and says: do you know that I have not yet read The Moonstone.

And there is an old lady, moving carefully from shelf to shelf, she steps around the bag on the ground and brings her book to the counter. It is a Debbie Macomber book, she thanks me for having the book as this writer means everything to her. She turns to move carefully out but pauses to tell me that now, she has two books to read this week. Then she is through the door and moving slowly away, into the dull wind, the cold, the end of autumn.