Friday, September 07, 2007

The ecstasy and agony of book shops

Forgot to mention yesterday that when I went into Waterstone's in Guildford, I was thrilled to see five copies (five!!!) of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice on the shelf. At eye level too, good grief. (Normally any of my books are placed on the bottom level, no matter if that is alphabetically correct or not, or in a box behind the counter as the bookshop is so traumatised by actually having them in at all ...) Not only that but they were actually facing outwards. A miracle has occurred indeed. I was utterly ecstatic! However, my joy was dashed a couple of hours later (if you remember, I'd been writing, m'dears ...) when I came back downstairs to discover that they'd been reshelved so it was strictly spines only. Bugger. Oh the agony.

I then spent a few seconds searching my conscience, found it was out to lunch, so took one copy of Champers and placed it face outward on top of Graham Hurley's latest. Well, bloody hell, he's a bestseller - the bugger doesn't need the sales. I most certainly do!

Fuelled by that deceit, I have done the same today in Godalming Waterstone's with A Bottle of Plonk, though I'm sorry to say I couldn't do it for The Moon's Complexion as the darn thing was too tightly shelved, and groaning and pulling the whole shelf out might have caused too much of a kerfuffle. Even for me. Still, at least I'm doing my bit for The Golden Gals. In my fashion.

Talking of which, I suspect this may be just me, but bookshops are a nightmare rollercoaster of agony and ecstasy for me at the moment, and have been for some time really. I love them of course - all those lovely little treasures to get my hands on and read - what could be nicer? But at the same time, I am frothing at the mouth, weeping and green with sick envy, thinking why oh why can't some of these be mine, and centrally sourced because the bookshop wants them, rather than being forced to order them in because of our begging?. God, but it's a nightmare. Honestly, entering a bookshop these days is like eating too much cheese - I love it but it just brings me out in hives. Deep, deep sigh ...

Oh, and here's yesterday's poem about bats:

The bat detector

Bats swoop and swirl
across twilight skies.

We watch and wonder as
the man with the detector

points the oblong box upward,
catches the pulse of their

calling, each beat a myriad
unheard notes as wild and lilting

as the flight which forms
them. See how they swing

faster as they track their helpless
prey, blink the sound

into silence when the chase
is done. May our flight

too be as full and free
as the bats which dazzle us

once, before being lost
in the trees tonight.

Anyway, to cheer me up, I've played another ace game of golf this morning - hurrah! - and I think I've gained my best score ever. Double hurrah! I even parred the last one. My, how I love a big finish.

I've also popped into see Gladys, who's cheery but tired. Much like me last week, really. I didn't stay long as she obviously wanted to rest, but it was nice to catch up, as I've missed her over the last couple of weeks. Whenever I've called round, she's been hiding - but I fooled her this time by calling when she was in the kitchen so she couldn't escape in time. Aha! I am indeed the Evil Pastoral Visitor. Cue manic laughter ...

This afternoon, I've typed up yesterday section to The Bones of Summer - and Craig and Paul have at last left Devon and are back in London, hurrah! They seem to have been down there for weeks, though they've only had an overnight stay, and it's great to be back on more familiar territory. For all of us. Phew. What the bloody hell happens now though? Lord knows - but I'll think of something. I hope.

Tonight, it's pizza, garlic bread, ice cream and wine - bliss. And I'm going to watch TV till my brain explodes. It's good to have a plan.

And I've (finally!) finished reading Jill McNish's Transforming Shame: a Pastoral Response. Lord, but it was very technical - more for the theologian or psychiatrist than for us bods on the street, really. Though it did have one or two high points - I particularly liked her reinterpretation of the parables of the loaves & fishes. In which the basketfuls of crumbs etc gathered up afterwards aren't a meaningless addition to an already complex visual & narrative symbol, but the parts of our personalities that we want to get rid of or hide, but God wants to keep and cherish. I liked that. A bloody lot. It means something. Which may in fact be the first religious revelatory moment I've had for months of course ...

Today's nice things:

1. Golf
2. Writing
3. Dinner.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Graeme K Talboys said...

You should have no qualms about displaying your own stuff prominently. I do it in libraries whenever I see my stuff, putting them face out or on the New Titles display. Have sadly never seen one of mine in a bookshop (unless you count amazon, which you probably quite rightly don't). Friends will phone up and say, "I saw such and such, the other day," which is all well and good, but it was three hundred miles away. Sigh.

Anne Brooke said...

You have books in libraries?? Wow! I'm impressed!! Even the local libraries spit on my offerings or hide them in the store room if I give them as gifts ...



Sue said...

Anne, there is a copy of Pink Champagne in our local library.

Apart from buying the book myself, I ordered it through the library too which means it's now in their system!

And, you can buy Pink Champagne in a lot more places than when I first bought mine. :-)(I like the idea of displaying the book around - mmmm never thought of that one!)

Sue xx

Anne Brooke said...

Really??? You're a total genius, Sue!!! Huge thanks indeed!!



Graeme K Talboys said...

I always get friends to order a copy from their library. I even get a few quid PLR each year.

Anne Brooke said...

Good for you! I think my friends feel they've done their bit just by buying it - and the ones who haven't, well, I'm too tired to nag them again.