Tag Archives: reading

Love your bookshops

 

It is a sad situation when a small group of individuals are so threatened by ideas they disagree with that they feel vindicated in ransacking a bookshop. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/05/far-right-protesters-ransack-socialist-bookshop-bookmarks-in-london

Bookmarks

Bookmarks on Bloomsbury Street in central London is the UK’s largest socialist bookshop. Photograph: Dave Gilchrist

1933 the German Students Union participated in burning books deemed to be ‘unGerman’. Strange new ideas are like bullets peppering your self-righteous beliefs. You see this attitude creeping onto our campuses where ideas deemed antagonistic to current virtue signalling concepts are vigorously opposed.

It could be of course, that the intruders limit their reading to social media and therefore cannot articulate their ideas in any way but through force. It is easier to break a door than support an opinion through rhetoric and debate. No-one is forcing them to buy or read these books but where is their respect for the right of someone to have a differing point of view.

I love bookshops even more than food markets which is saying a lot for me. I cannot walk past a book shop without browsing the display in a window, or better still picking up and perusing from a pile of books lying in a box outside as one of our local second-hand bookshops does.

The temptation is not worth resisting and so I enter sure in the knowledge that I will find at least one book that I have been wanting to read or one that will make me desire it. Even before I read the titles, the smell of the paper gives me a buzz of excitement and the thought of what the pages can show me is so addictive that I can spend a couple of hours drifting along the shelves, pulling books in and out, calculating how many I can justify to myself that I will read in the near future. Yes, that does mean I have a pile of books on my to read/unread shelf but who cares because they are a promise of a future pleasure.

I get excited just looking at the piles of books that clutter the corridor of a bookshop, the books that other people have pushed in on top of the ordered shelves and those left in the wrong place. There is even the joy of finding comments written on the pages and occasionally a letter or photo used as a bookmark. My husband uses his old boarding passes so one day when he goes to the great bookshop in the sky, someone will travel the world on his books. We have a book of poetry where the owner has written her comments beside her favourite poems. It is a joy to read the thoughts of a woman clearly well read and insightful. I wish I could sit down with her over a glass of wine and talk about the world. 

Now I am enjoying the vicarious pleasure of introducing a grandchild to this rewarding hobby. I watch as his finger runs down the spines of the pile of second-hand Treehouse Series books, trying to remember which ones he already has. He is only 7 years old, but for the next two hours he sits, buried in the pages, bubbles of laughter erupting at the crazy ideas he is discovering on the pages, curling up in exquisite delight at the ridiculousness and taking pleasure in reading the story to me. This child will never be bored, never lonely and never threatened by ideas. This is an adventure for life.

I feel sorry for those vandals. They must have had a very boring and restrictive childhood.

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