Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Thought for the day

When I first opened the bookshop, this dropped out of a book as I was pricing and shelving it. The book is long gone, but the marker has been on my bulletin board since then. It sums up very neatly how I feel about laying out money for books. It's as necessary as buying groceries, isn't it...

While this was certainly put in by the book's publisher, it put me in mind of Michael Atkinson's pleasingly long article on the paper detritus he's searched for and found in books, "Other People's Bookmarks: Fellow Wanderers of a Forgotten Republic - in which we
consider the lives of strangers by way of what they leave behind in books" from the November 2005 issue of the Believer magazine. It's available online, although I recommend buying the paper copy of the magazine, for the great color illustrations of the best of the bookmarks. Bizarre and often poignant ephemera. (http://www.believermag.com/issues/200511/?read=article_atkinson)

The good people of Bangor are putting this adage into practice by continuing to shop for bookish gifts. Another sampling from the sales slips this week: All Quiet on the Western Front, Jack London's South Sea Tales, Alice, Let's Eat by Calvin Trillin, Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them (full of handy advice for collectors who want to maintain good relationships with family members while continuing to amass their objects of desire, applicable to more than just tractors - say, for example, oh, I don't know... books), as well as books by Nick Bantock, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Lamott, Gene Logsdon, and Rumi, a Koran, and an Oxford Book of English Verse. All full of good ideas. More justification for books as the best possible gifts, as if we needed any.

Sarah, Michael Atkinson's article on the paper detritius found in books remindered me of the Billy Collins poem "Marginalia". I think I will read it aloud at my next book group meeting.

Speaking of book grups, I was surprised by Atkinson's disdain for book groups. Has the man never had the pleasure of discussing a book he loved or loathed with other readers? Vicky E.
Hey Vicky! Statements like this are often made by people who do not belong to book groups... And while reading is necessarily a solitary act, I don't think there's anything wrong with talking over with others the books you've (I've) read; that's what I'm doing with this blog, among other things.
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