The trouble with bookshops is simple. I have a tendency to buy books in them. About a year ago I wrote a few posts on the demise of the bookshop I volunteered at. If you’re interested you’ll find them in the menu above in Tales from the Booktrade. That bookshop has now re-opened on a different site and so although being absolutely delighted, my troubles have returned not ‘single spies but in batallions’.
I’m sure that you will not be at all surprised to learn that the site where the old bookshop was is now being turned into ‘luxury’ flats. Why are they always ‘luxury’ these flats? Bog standard is my guess with ceilings you might brush your head against if you stand on tip toe. Anyway, whatever they are they’ll need bloody good double glazing to deal with the heavy traffic thundering past their windows.
The new shop is huge and so big that we feel like buffaloes roaming the plains. The volunteers who knew the old shop have rueful conversations. It was a tiny squashed death trap but we were all very fond of its idiosyncracies and quite fond of the idiosyncracies of our customers. This shop looks like a proper bookshop which is a bit unnerving. Will we end up having proper customers?
The first week I exert self control and do not buy anything but I note in passing that there are copies of The Night Watch and Ring Roads by Patrick Modiano (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature) and also a copy of Hotel Florida by Amanda Vail. If they are there next time I think I might buy them.
The following week they are still there and I also see a biography of Bukowski by Neeli Cherkovski and also The Stage Year Book 1928. This is a spectacularly camp offering as the gratuitous photos peppered through this post indicate and I can’t resist it. I justify this purchase on the basis that my most recent book is partly set in the world of the London theatre in the 1930s. It’s a ridiculous reason, I know, but what can I say? Show me an advertisement for a pantomime dame in 1928 and I’m yours. Or rather, you’re mine.
See what I mean about single spies and batallions? This isn’t going to end well, is it?
Are you able to set foot in a bookshop and not buy a book? If anyone uses an expression like self-control or will power in any of the comments, or even a simple ‘yes’ this blog will self destruct in 5 seconds.