This post is a tribute to the still remaining bookstores that offer the opportunity to browse and chance across gems of literature. I wrote this blog six years ago and it is even more relevant now.
For example, only a few days ago I was in a local town, with 30 minutes up my sleeve. I see a couple walking down the pathway clutching some books. This is a Sunday and I think, Where did they come by those? It doesn’t take long for a recollection of a secondhand bookseller nearby to come to light; even less for me to make my way to the store.
It’s 2.30pm and the store is empty – aside from the owner talking with someone she knows. They continue talking while I browse – all sorts of stuff but mainly about a washing machine that’s on its last legs and the owner is wondering whether to buy another or get someone in to repair. A question of economics basically.
All this I’m hearing as I continue my search of the stacks. Nothing. Nothing. Then. I come across two books within a few feet of one another – They are: Portraits from Serbia and The Surgeon of Crowthorne. Why is this remarkable? The first because I’m researching a novel based on the events of 1999 – 2004; the second because I am about to see the movie based on the book, now titled The Madman and the Professor.
This is why bookstores, secondhand ones, are so important. They throw up opportunities and chances denied the online stores, where everything is attainable with the click of a key.
Long live the book and long live the bookstore.