I believe most of you know by now,
I own a used bookstore.
It’s small and honestly,
kind of dusty but,
I love books and,
They are my people,
I read books about books and bookshops,
with a genuine interest.
A few months ago,
I saw references to The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald.
Probably on one of the British book blogs that I peruse.
On my last library visit I looked it up and took it out.
It is with anticipation nearing excitement that,
I started it early last week.
It wasn’t what I expected or perhaps,
what I needed.
Some of my favourite reads of the last few years,
have been set in bookstores or been about them,
it’s a passion.
I won’t bore you again with how much I love,
84 Charing Cross Road.
I will however say that Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s,
The Shadow of The Wind,
is one of the most imaginative novels I have ever read.
I read several memoirs of bookshops and bookshop odysseys,
Time Was Soft There,
Jeremy Mercer’s memoir of time spent at the mythical,
Shakespeare and Company in Paris.
Shakespeare And Company by Sylvia Beach,
the woman who founded the original bookshop in 1919 and,
published James Joyce’s Ulysses.
The Yellow Lighted Bookshop,
Books v. cigarettes, a series of essays by George Orwell,
Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry.
All this to say,
I like the genre.
I usually find them to be funny and uplifting.
Filled with eccentric, quirky people.
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald,
is very well written novel.
It is a subtle book,
about a small town in East Anglia and the people who live there.
It engaged me and showed me a part of the world I don’t know.
But, it ultimately, made me sad.
It achieved this by being perfectly honest,
about how the world works.
The hard working and honest people don’t always make it,
sometimes the snobs and the bourgeois do.
I wanted a David, convincing and winning over Goliath story.
That’s wasn’t what this book was,
this in no way diminishes it’s merits,
just my enjoyment.
I was looking for an ode to the love of books,
and the sharing of that love.
What I got,
was a book about the great difficulty of changing peoples’ attitudes,
and how you can’t fight City Hall.
It left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I think this is a perfect illustration of what a reader brings to a book,
one’s life experiences makes a book different for every reader.
Forgive me for stating the obvious,
and for giving away too much of the plot.
I just had to share what I thought.