recent conversation in a bookstore
Friendly Young Person [hereafter known as FYP] : that's a nice coat you're wearing
me [hereafter still known as me] : thank you!
FYP : did you make it yourself?
me : yes, and it's dyed with eucalyptus
FYP : there's a book over there that would interest you
me : has it by any chance got a green cover?
FYP : yes
me : is the author possibly India Flint?
FYP : yes
me : that's me
it was a surreal moment. but pleasant withall.
and it was the sort of thing that DOESN'T happen when one is idly browsing Amazon or other net-based purveyors of literature.
i fell into the latter trap a few weeks ago, freshly back from Tasmania and armed with a new reading list thanks to an erudite friend
over-eager to acquire books without the bother of seeking them out.
i found a few
but was also seduced into selecting a few others
pretty covers and cleverly worded paragraphs.
however when they arrived some while later it was a salutary lesson. purchasing books online that are otherwise out of print makes sense as often a pre-loved treasure can be found
but buying things that look promising on the outside isn't always quite so satisfying
nothing is really quite the same as browsing happily through a bookstore
turning a few pages
having an amusing exchange with another patron
and deciding whether the contents of the cover live up to the promises made on the outside.
especially pleasant when the bookshop smells nicely of fresh flowers
and perhaps a hint of some gentle incense
so i'll try to stick to the real thing in the future
with the exception of things that are out of print
and make regular visits to these bookstores when i'm in the neighbourhood
Matilda Books, Stirling, South Australia
Artisan Books, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Minerva Books, Cuba Street, Wellington [NZ]
Ariel Books, Oxford Street, Paddington
City Lights in San Francisco, USA
and that splendid store, William Stout Architectural, at 804 Montgomery, San Francisco
meanwhile, for South Australian readers who haven't anything planned for September 3, 2009 and can bear to leave their cosy fire, glass of red and good book for the wilds of the night
i'm telling stories at Mostly Books, Mitcham Square, 119 Belair Road, Torrens Park
at about 7.30pm
if the present weather continues, awards for bravery will be handed to those who turn up....