Bookshop Memories

by Orwell, George

Some days, especially those in which my lack of tolerance for this city is only matched by my impatience with the job, I suffer the wildest joyriding fantasies of working at a used bookshop. To elucidate, the fantasy usually involves moving to smalltown Americana and opening up one next to a Wal-Mart, grabbing curiosity-seekers on their way out, and making recommendations based on their blue-light purchases. If they were frumpy housewives whose impulse buy was the latest People magazine to go with their two cartons of Virginia Slim 100s and sale-rack throw pillows, I’d toss a Flan O’Connor their way. Spotty boys with fresh camouflage trousers and a hunting licence bought off dad’s credit card? Siddartha ought to nip that in the bud. It goes on and on, saving every caricature and stereotype, one well-bound volume at a time, and this has been a very real fantasy for years.

And when that fantasy becomes a real desire, days like today, where the tolerance is spent and the work is so dull it’s not even good for a giggle in appreciation of its absurdity, I skim over this, which makes it okay to come home and have a cup of tea.

Article written by miette

Miette has been podcasting the best of world literature's short fiction since March 2005, when she was just a pup.

3 Responses

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  1. Scoot
    Scoot March 13, 2005 at 3:23 pm |

    I love this piece, which I’d never read before; having worked in both bookstores and libraries, though only in America in recent times, I found so much of this to be true even today. And how sad.

    One note on the quality of your podcasts themselves: I love the whole amateur approach to podcasts, and you are a wonderful reader with a fetching accent, but I get a lot of glitches and squelchings, at least on my mp3 player(s). Could it be your software conversion program or whatever? No big problem–the readings are still enjoyable–but I have read that 56 or 64 KBPS mono files are good for voice podcasts. Smaller files and still quite good quality. No matter what, keep up the good work–which is good inspiration for my own.

  2. Zoe
    Zoe January 8, 2009 at 2:18 am |

    Voice is often overlooked. Not seen at all really, is it? No one spies on spectrograph data now do they? Do they?

    Anyway, thanks for the words and voice. I always imagine you in some period outfit to go along with what you have chosen to read.

  3. Jim B.
    Jim B. March 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm |

    What a delight! The work and the wonderful reading. Having been a book collector and reader for many years I have so enjoyed the haunts of used book stores, which are seeming to become rarer these days. Some of the description presented I have long recognized. For others, I have been newly enlighted to bear witness when perusing my favorite haunts in the future.

    Thank you for bringing this wonderful work to my attention!

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