Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Text Maniac

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.” Groucho Marx

I was really looking forward to my lunch break today. I rushed over to the pub to bag a nice big armchair near the fireplace, so I could hunker down and finish my book, Lawrence Block’s brilliant The Burglar on the Prowl. Despite the bright, cloudless sky, it was still bitterly cold outside, and the wind bit into my cheeks as I hauled ass along the high street. Inevitably, all the good seats near the fireplace were taken, and I couldn’t quite talk myself into buying a Jack Daniel’s to ward off the cold, so I made do with the seat I had, a glass of Coke, and the urbane wit and charm of Bernie Rhodenbarr, antiquarian bookseller and light-fingered housebreaker.

The book was great. I stretched the conventional definition of an hour so that I could put the book to rest. And the remains of my day have been all the better for it.

Back at work, a leisurely afternoon’s surfing has yielded links to here and here from the excellent Bookslut. And they’ve got me thinking.

I miss London and it’s myriad wonderful little (and big) bookshops. It’s impossible for me to walk into a bookshop and walk out empty-handed. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have access to London on a daily basis. I’ve got a wife and daughter to support.

The heaving, dusty shelves of Murder One on Charing Cross Road. The four-colour fantasies popping off the walls in Gosh! and Comic Showcase. The beautiful marble staircase in the Waterstone’s on Piccadilly, still possessing many of the gorgeous fixtures and fittings from the long gone days when the store was still Simpson’s. The lucky grab bag of remaindered books you can always score on the cheap upstairs in the Soho Bookshop, whilst the porn remains barely hidden downstairs behind a curtain of coloured ribbons.

Hello. My name’s AKA, and I’m a bookaholic.

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