Above Literature


“Above literature?’ said the Queen. ‘Who is above literature? You might as well say one was above humanity.”

 Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader


Ricky wants to read all about Caesar and so is looking for the entire Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCulloch, which are apparently ‘powerful books’. But now, damn it, she has to get her windscreen wipers fixed and some rogue mechanic in Mt Barker has told her $1200 thanks. But even though she is nearly 80, she won’t be paying THAT. It’s no wonder she needs Caesar to come home to. Then she ordered a copy of The Life and Times of Cicero: Rome’s Greatest Politician.

I keep having to learn not to assume that I know why and what people read. Nor am I capable of assessing what they can read.

A young man and his son (in soccer boots) came in after the game to find some books by Enid Blyton. He wanted The Magic Wishing Tree and the Gang on the Island. He just loved those books and wanted them for his son. I suggested some changes to his titles but he only wanted those exact books. He also told me that Enid Blyton was a man and if I googled it, I would soon found out that Enid Blyton was definitely a bloke.

A lady looking for The Little Gray Rabbit for the grandchildren said that she has to do all the leg work in the family to make sure that the children actually read something decent.

I am reading, in between times, Lilian’s Story by Kate Grenville which has me flabbergasted. I feel as though I must meet this Lilian but I don’t know if she is real or not. Last week I did not feel good about myself, but this week, thanks to Lilian Singer, I do. This book, Lilian’s Story does not entertain. It is about how we are and it is devastating if we don’t want to know about it.

Tina asked for a copy of Stravinsky’s Lunch and I was pleased with her choice even though I did not have a copy.

Robert came so see if Merlin through the Ages had arrived, which it hadn’t. He is still excited with Robert Graves.

Steve came to browse but said I have nothing good. I suggested he branch out but he feels that the only good book is a western.

A young woman said that she is buying a copy of every book she had as a child, starting with Frog and Toad are Friends.

A man bought a copy of Billy by Noel Robertson, a story of a young boy with autism spectrum disorder. The customer told me that it is never too late to learn about something that is worrying.

Leah bought a book illustrated by Brian Wildsmith and was ecstatic. And then, at the end of the day, Margaret said (when she picked up her copy of One bear Lost for her grandson) that it is so great that we can read…anything we want, whenever we want. And that we should not become casual and forget to do it. I said that I had never thought of it like that.

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