For the moment you can’t just pop into a book shop, have a browse around, mentally tick off books for another time, enjoy looking at books you’re never going to buy, and then with a feeling of happiness, advance to the counter with book in one hand and payment in the other.
There was a book I knew I wanted to buy and usually would have gone into town and gone through the above process but with a definite object in mind, bought the volume, then may have had a rather nice coffee in the café in the shop. Not so these days. A book shop is not described as essential. However, fortunately the one in town does have a click and collect facility, so I ordered on line, and was able to go and collect it this afternoon.
I imagine a masked and soulless exchange, but in fact I had a pleasant surprise. The book was handed over, a few comments exchanged, and then i said what a marvellous book it was which I’d bought, and suddenly, masked book seller and masked customer where having an animated discussion through masks and the perspex screen.
The book I was buying was the next read for our book club ‘The Book of Trespass’ by Nick Hayes. It was indeed a marvellous book so the book seller had heard although he was yet to read it, but one he had read which was absolutely tremendous was ‘Under the Stars: A Journey Into Light ‘ by Matt Gaw. It was about light pollution, and escaping it and the book seller told me about a trip to Scotland he had made with his family to a small island, maybe the Isle of Coll, just to see a fantastic night sky. He’d even taken a picture of it, and he went and got his phone to show me. It was an amazing picture of the Milky Way, and he told me all the technical details of taking it..
I came away from the book shop thinking, books and love of books is a marvellous things. Book lovers exchange all sorts of things between themselves, not just selling or lending books, but sharing books and authors they love, and sometimes little glimpses into their own lives.