Yesterday, I attempted to order books from a local shop. I was after classics, a few choice Edith Wharton novels, a couple of fat novels by the beloved Dickens. You know, Charles.
Well, it took much Dicken-around before I was understood by the befudddled bookseller on the other end of the line.
"Warton? How do you spell that? Does he write novels?"
"Dickin, what is the last name? Is it a novel?"
"You mean you work in a bookstore and you're not familiar with Edith
Wharton, Charles Dickens?"
"I'm the manager."
"Read a book!" (One sometimes forgets one's manners.)
Remember the days, my friends, we thought they would never end. When booksellers loved--and knew--books? I spent my childhood, teen, and early adult years in New York City and frequented many bookshops, both large and indie. St. Mark's, Spring Street, Three Lives, Border's, B&N, the Strand....and I fondly recall the experience of shopping for books and having a passionate bookseller recommend great titles for me, introducing me to books and authors I might come to love. They knew the classics, they knew what was new.
I miss the passionate bookseller who is not selling bubblegum...or widgets, but books.
I know they still exist. I will find them out.
I miss the booktalk.