Saturday, 29 September 2012

The second-hand bookshop

about a kilometre from here is closing today. I will be sad to see it go.
As many of you know I have distinctly mixed feelings about buying second-hand books. I will buy them - but only under certain conditions. It usually means that they need to be out of print and otherwise unavailable.
Other people tell me this is silly of me - especially when I have a very limited income. I say my fellow writers need the tiny amount they get from the sale of each new book. Sigh. It makes life very difficult.
The person who runs this second-hand bookshop however is a particularly pleasant person and he is conscious of the problem. He has, he claims, never stocked books that are within five years of their publication and has still managed to make a living from his business for the last forty or so years. He says it is time to put his feet up and read a book rather than sell them.
The Senior Cat, despite horizontal rain showers, needed a hair cut yesterday and the barber is several doors along from the bookshop. He went to the barber and, inevitably, he went to the bookshop. The two of them watched the rain and had a good chat. Equally inevitably the Senior Cat came home with three more books. They have been added to the tottering pile by his bed. These are things he considered he "must" read. 
He also came home with a message for me. There are several books for children that the seller has put aside for me - if I do not already have them. 
This man has, over the years, found quite a number of useful books for me. He knows I am trying to maintain a library of good books for children which are no longer available in libraries.
While the Senior Cat was out someone else called in. We had to look at some documents together. He had three restless grandchildren with him. They were "bored" with their little screen games.  I pointed to the shelves and said,
           "Find something to read."
There was some muttering and then silence. When the time came they did not want to leave.
There is limited space in libraries. It is up to others to keep at least some of the literature for future generations in a place where they can access it. It still has the capacity to entertain.

2 comments:

virtualquilter said...

My toybox for visitors includes a variety of books ... and some novelty toys, like wooden trains and blocks. They work every time and the batteries are never flat.

catdownunder said...

I remember Dad making something for one of my sister's nephews by marriage. He was about four at the time. He kept looking underneath trying to find the batteries!