…all of the letters of Henry Handel Richardson…


I am asked for The Shorter Oxford Dictionary, both volumes and published before 1970 before all the stupid words came in.  I am asked for Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism and for all of the Beatrix Potter books including The Tale of Pigling Bland which was quite frightening. I am asked for H. V. Morton’s England which I have read and I know it is divine. I said there are also his books on Scotland, Italy, and the Middle East. The customer was pleased with me even though I did not have any of them here.

I was asked for Lee Child and Liane Moriarty and Black Beauty.

Outside, passers-by are moving briskly, it has rained and everything is rinsed. We think it is cold now but actually it isn’t.

A little girl, 10, buys David Attenborough’s The First Eden because she is going to be a vet or a traveller.

John came by and told me more about Spike Milligan. I thought there might be nothing more to tell about Spike Milligan but I was wrong.

I have finished The Historian and I am done with the vampires. I am looking at The Little Prince and thinking I might read it again. But I also have some new books, purchased with a voucher I received as a Christmas gift, a very royal gift, and so I got to be a customer in someone else’s alarming bookstore in the city. This store, O’Connell’s Book Shop, towered with choices; I am a beginner here. There were cases of wood and glass and walls of leather; red, blue, gold and green with silver lettering. I saw Pepys on the higher shelves. They used to have a dog in here that sat in a basket and slept amongst the histories but he wasn’t here anymore.  There were ropes guarding the Easton Press. Shakespeare was lined up in black on the highest shelves of all. In the biographies there were too many men. I found in three heavy volumes of chocolate brown and gold all of the letters of Henry Handel Richardson ( who was actually Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson) and I am still in shock that they are now mine.

Shirley came to order a book and told me that January is now nearly gone and where did it go? She is outraged. Robert is also outraged, with his car because without oil it would not go. He said he will never get to complete his library when he has to waste money on buying oil for his car. He also has to get it fixed anyway. He has asked for a book in French, he is going to learn to read French while he waits for it but it will be worth it as so much significant literature is in French.

Two young men tell me that Lolita is a difficult book to read. One of them explains to me the confrontational value of literature.

I think that I might close early and go home and confront the Henry Handel Richardsons that are now mine.