Stories in the Air

I buy most of my books online. I feel bad about it, sometimes, but books are really expensive here. The mark-ups are extraordinary – and that’s not the retailers’ fault, that RRP. So, one does what one can with the limited funds available to one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t visit bookshops. I love bookshops.

There’s an utterly perfect one in the CBD called “Unity Books”. It’s an independent store, absolutely piled with books. I pop in there when I have some spare time, and as soon as I walk in the door I get a face-full of bookshop smell and all my stress just melts away. After spending a while in there, browsing the shelves, I start to feel really surrounded by stories. There are so many books I haven’t read! New ones all the time! All these beautiful little stories, parcelled up in their books, wrapped in their pretty covers, waiting to be opened and experienced. All these babies of so many writers, young and old and new and dead. I was in there for half an hour this Friday, and I accumulated a little list of books that look interesting. I might buy them from there some day when I have the cash, or I might buy them elsewhere. It’s nice to buy there when I can, to support the indies (as one does) and because it’s just exciting to seize a book off the shelf and buy it on a whim, and read it on the bus on the way home. (Feeling a little guilty, because of all those other books at home, waiting to be read.)

It’s exciting to receive a parcel in the mail, too. Most of the time now, though, it goes from the packaging to my huge “to read” pile, without much time in between. It takes some of the fun out of things.

The point I really wanted to make is visit bookshops. It’s so worth it. Even if you don’t buy anything, there’s so much colour, and they’re nice and quiet, and there are books there! New ones, ones you can take home with you! New authors to discover. Notebooks to buy! Perhaps a new friend to make? Who knows! They’re repositories of experience!

Now – to have it somewhere easily accessible, as much as I’m planning to buy quite a few from there – I’m filling up a Book Depository wishlist for next semester’s English class. In the process I have discovered that one of my lecturers is a BIG Nabokov fan. He literally wrote a book called Stalking Nabokov. It’s perfect. Do you think I would get more marks if I referenced a bunch of his books in a Lolita essay…? Do you think he would give me ideas for a Nabokov tattoo? Do you think he has a Nabokov tattoo? I mean, probably, right?

He’s also written a book called The Origin of Stories which sounds, just based on the blurb, a lot like aspects of Science of Discworld II and their Pan narrans, the story-telling ape. Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen have already sold me on that concept. I am sufficiently intrigued.

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