Friday, 1 July 2011

What's the best you can do?

What's the best you can do?  First-hand Recollections of a Second-hand Bookseller written by Derek Rowlinson

This was a hilarious read.  Mr Rowlinson, ran a second-hand bookshop in Bangor, Co Down, (Northern Ireland) for many years.  This book was an autobiographical glimpse into his experiences buying books, and selling books to the general book buying populace.  I don't know if I ever actually went into his bookshop before he closed it.  I do hope I did.  

I just have to mention a couple of quotes from the book to give a flavour of this unexpected page turner... 

in a chapter called "General Ignorance" on page 41...

"Coming up to Christmas I overheard one woman ask her friend in a broad Belfast accent "What d'ye want to buy him that for?  Sure he's already got a book.""

in a chapter entitled "Meanness" on page 63...

"I shall never forget the woman who stood at the bookshop window with a Chinese carry-out in one hand and armful of video rentals in the other, whilst her little daughter pointed at a fifty pence children's book I had on display.  "We haven't got money to waste on that," she told the girl peevishly, and shooed her along."

Late in the evening as I finished this short but pleasurable read I found myself thinking how lucky I was to have a mother who also loved reading and encouraged my brother, sister and I to read by using the "Teach Your Baby to Read" system that she bought in the late 1960's.  I can still remember the black and golden coloured box that it came in.

Fascinating to see the different perspective of a second-hand bookshop from the viewpoint of the bookseller in comparison to the person like me who loves to browse their shelves on wet afternoons looking for an out of print delight, although, I often find it easier to find the book online, a second-hand bookshop is an experience for all of the senses. 


Donna said...

I loved the post, especially the last paragraph. I agree. I am a new follower (GFC) and would love to invite you for a follow on my blog. I write book reviews and stories about my crazy life. Look forward to reading more here. Donna

Kate Evangelista said...

I love the picture with the cat.

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