Yesterday morning – rain, wind, slight chill in the air – I walked totally wrecked and at snail pace towards the bookshop. Voucher in hand, lots of titles written down on paper, just in case my memory checks out on me again.
For a while now I had been looking at certain books, longing to buy them someday. That day came yesterday. Proud as a turkey all dolled up, I went upstairs to the second-hand part of the shop. As I left the elevator, right in front of my eyes stood Friedrich Nietzsche. Just as proud he looked, and slightly cheaper than me, I ran towards him and took him with me. Although thrice known for having chosen the wrong man, I decided to take a chance on dear Friedrich… you know all that jazz about living a wild life? That time had now arrived.
‘Him’ = the book ‘Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits’. The title in itself to die for already, the author a mystery to many, an idiot to others but to me… a free-thinker, a man wise before his age, scorned and loved in one breath.
Further I went, unable to decide between James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, the complete history of Ireland, a biography of Jonathan Swift or Oscar Wilde and a book about the Dublin Lockout in 1913. Heartache is when you want to buy more but your wallet prevents you to.
Whatever about those books, Nietzsche stayed close to my chest. I refused to let go of ‘Human, All Too Human,’ just in case someone else would steal him from under my eyes. You just never know the type of human beings that enter large bookstores and/or libraries; some really do not want to admit to being a bibliophile and only buy books when nobody is watching them.
Nobody, but me. I know the type, after all I spend almost 7 years working in a public library. Oh yes, I spotted them. What my eyes unveiled yesterday however, were books placed in the wrong non-fiction category, and incorrectly classified in the fiction part of the bookstore. Oh the torture, the itching fingers, the shoulda/coulda/woulda conundrum of wanting to…
This was not my house, nor my bookcase. I cannot go rearranging books correctly in places that do not belong to me (I secretly do when nobody is watching!). On I walked, looking back, as if those books were in danger of being hurt. On I stomped… looking back…
Please forgive me for wanting to clean up your shop, Mr. Chapters, but I just love books placed in the most difficult part of any library or bookstore: the non-fiction department. You see, every non-fiction book is sorted according to its field of study, followed by classification according to its aspect or concept. Fingers so itchy I looked like I was as high as a kite. Either way, I just cannot rearrange other people’s bookcases… period! Big slap on the bum there, Billie, ya hear me!?
People who treat books with contempt, who burn books, who throw them in the bin after their school year is finished… oh that is something my poor heart cannot stand. A book is a person to me. Or the personification of. Somebody slaved hard over writing and rewriting it, sending it to many publishers only to be rejected.
In the end, a book began with a dream. I leave with those dreams tucked warm against my chest, dreaming of reading them while sitting in my soft leather couch with a little blanket on my feet, candles lit, blinds down and heating on. Imaginary dog with its head on my lap. Sigh… life is good.
People who disturb me while reading… like my Nana always used to say: ‘forgive them for they do not know what they are doing to you, little one…’
As you can guess, books were my life as a child, a teen, an adult and will always be part of my life. I choose books depending on my mood right that moment, or I deliberately go out to get a specific one.
Whichever wins, I always leave the bookstore or the library with a smile of my face because I just added more knowledge to my life. In the end I did leave the bookstore with Nietzsche, a biography of James Joyce, the collected poems of William Butler Yeats, a book by James Plunkett about the Lockout in 1913 and a book about the Easter Rising in 1916.
Love for me? A house filled with books, and perhaps a man who buys me all the books I ever want. When I can’t get the latter, I will happily settle for the first.
If you loved this post, please check out these posts about books and/or writing also:
- The Imperfection of Books
- The Virtue of Books
- Welcome to the Book Fetish Club!
- Writing, a Quiet Observation
- Stunning Bookstore in Dublin!
- When You Are Old
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