Bookshop Addiction-there is no cure.

Do you admit to bookshop addiction? I do. Openly, blissfully I admit to my affliction.

And there is no cure. I know; I have done the studies. No. Cure.

When you enter those hallowed walls, how do you browse the shelves? What is your process? Do you head straight for your genre, despite looking for a gift for someone else? Do you start at the back and work forward? Or do you mix it up a little?

I start at the beginning. At the very front. Those tables piled with temptation; the specials tables, then the new releases. Oh… the joy of picking the latest by a favourite author. Beyond these to the crime, romance, literature. There is the classic I have been looking for. On to the self help which does nothing to salve my addiction.

The children’s section, cooking and wine. Art and memoir. My pulse quickened back at Australian Classics and my doctor would seriously disapprove of the level my blood pressure has reached. I have enough to feed my addiction for the moment. It is time to go.

Have you noticed most registers are never quite at the front of the store? Nor in the middle or the back? No. So as not to impede your progress, they know their best spot is to the side, set back a little; not too obvious but where you will see them, ready to transfer your treasures into a brown paper bag while they feed their spoils of your addiction into the till.

I confess to something a little peculiar; I pick the book behind the first one. So I buy a pristine copy. It’s like the top one is sacrificed for the good of the rest. Unless I am browsing a second hand bookshop. That’s a whole other story.

My habit is out of control; I have browsed many a bookshop and below are a few of my favourites. There’s a common thread in these; heritage buildings, high timber shelves, careful lighting. And those library ladders!

New modern shops with their bright lights and garish posters – not for the seriously addicted, clearly. No, the serious addict doesn’t want their affliction flaunted in places such as these. Give us the low light, soft murmurs, and that smell. You know what I mean. Breathe it in and exhale slowly.

To Read ‘Go Set a Watchman’ or Not to Read…

In a previous post I mentioned I was anticipating the delivery of my copy of Harper Lee’s novel ‘Go Set a Watchman’. Well, that suspense has been well rewarded. I was unable to put it down until I finished it.Excerpt chapter 17 In fact Chapter 17, which is very late in the book and mostly dialogue between Jean Louise (Scout) and Atticus, held me spellbound. I still love these two characters.

We know this story takes place twenty years after ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and my favourite characters are all there, except of course Jem, and there were only flashbacks to Dill. I wonder how Jem would have seen the changes that were taking place and whether he would have stood beside Atticus or Jean Louise?

Despite his flaws in this book, I still have a fondness for Atticus; I don’t think he is really that far removed from the one we love in the earlier work. Aunt Alexandra is stronger than ever, and their stories flow well from the previous book. Henry, Jean Louise’s boyfriend, I am not so fond of, which I think was the writer’s intention.

In this post I am not going to delve into the debate surrounding this novel. I believe that only a very few can know the true story behind the eventual publication of this book and I applaud those who choose not to read it out of principle; loyalty to a wonderful writer. How many writers can claim such devotion.

My willpower is not so great, after reading the first chapter online I was hooked. As was the intention. I know. The media story goes that ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was the original manuscript  Harper Lee submitted, she intended it to be read. Her publisher saw the story in a different light and persuaded her to rewrite it. If this is correct I am very glad she did. Because we can now enjoy both of these wonderful pieces of work.

This is a work of fiction as is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Harper Lee is not a work of fiction. She is very real, but well funded and connected media would have us believe in many and varied tales about her and her life.

I for one hope she is happy and aware that her books give so much pleasure to those who read them. And I thank her for two wonderful books.