Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Marginalia Larks

Books are good, right? We're all agreed. But what's...gooderer? Spending thousands of pounds on an English degree and being unable to think of the word 'better' for several minutes? No! Second Hand Bookshops. They, quite frankly, Rock My Socks. I was thinking about making a T-shirt that says "Second Hand Bookshops Rock My Socks" but it's not the snappiest slogan in the world, and there is the inevitable problem that any girl wearing a top with words on has to suffer the indignity of someone basically reading her breasts. I digress.

My Second Hand Bookshop of the Week is without a doubt, Any Amount of Books which can be found in real life at 56 Charing Cross Road, and on the internet here: . They don't make 'em like this anymore - leather so stiff and battered, fifty years old and you can practically still smell the cow. A couple of doors down, in another labyrinth of libris (Latin and alliteration, get me) I stifled giggles at the incredibly super-posh odd couple proprieters, who could have been performing a Fry and Laurie sketch for all I know, with their disdainful commentary on pretty much everything. Flicking through these second-hand gems, you find things you wouldn't in Waterstones - 50 year-old bus tickets fall out of the pages, inscriptions to long-dead lovers are still marked on the front page.

This message for example - who is Philip? Was Miranda his lover? Why is her name in sarcastic quote marks - is it a code? Were they spies?! Ok probably not. But it's still interesting - is he in the forces, still off on a post-war peace-keeping thing in '49? And if so, is what he really needed a copy of "Three Plays for Puritans"?

What all this boils down to is that my books have had lives and loves before I was even born. Which, in my jobless, loveless state, just makes me feel more inadequate. My books are more accomplished than I am. That is depressing.

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