Tuesday, 6 January 2009

In a Bookshop

All you can see through the tall windows are
the rooftops of the city, and the sky
(both crinkled slightly by the imperfect glass).
This partial view serves to convey a sense
of stillness in which people linger, drawn
to contemplate the stacks, searching the spines
for words they hadn't thought of, books that might provide
some sort of landmark on a mental map.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Good description of what it can be like in a bookshop - spent the day in Borders in Phoenix earlier this year - windows looked out as you say and inside a very quiet atmosphere which made you want to look for a book - any book - which might just catch the soul.

Poet in Residence said...

Almost Larkinesque!

We'll be speniding our Xmas Book Tokens soon. Those of us who got any. I didn't. Somebody bought me Adam Resurrected by Yoram Kaniuk. A novel in which a mental hospital is a metaphor for Israel. I found it had its moments, its highs and lows. At other times it simply lumbered along. A lot like a nut house in fact.
Re Vonnegut - I also enjoyed Slaughterhouse 5, but haven't read Cat's Cradle. I've read Breakfast of Champions which I think I enjoyed and I have Happy Birthday Wanda June yet to read.

Sorlil said...

Oh nice ending! I adore bookshops, especially second-hand ones.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.
WG: I suppose the art of selling books is to create just such an atmosphere.
PiR: Larkinesque - hints, perhaps, of "high windows:/The sun-comprehending glass". My mother bought me that book at an impressionable age. Re Vonnegut - I am lucky enough to have a book token. I might spend it on KV's Player Piano. But then there's always Robert Zend... Am currently reading Matter by IM Banks.I have a weakness for Culture novels. It's lumbering a bit at the moment, but we'll see...
Sorlil: Thank you. So do I. My particular current favourite is Westwood Books in Sedburgh (Cumbria).

Frances said...

I particularly like: ...searching the spines/for words they hadn't thought of... .In many respects that is exactly what we do in a bookshop.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Good one Dominic, looking for landmarks, little peces of ourselves, hooks to tether us in the cosmos.

Dave King said...

The correspondences between the internal and external maps are nicely suggested. That is all that si required.

Poet in Residence said...

If you haven't got George Szirtes' New & Collected that'd be something for your book token. There must be years of reading in it. Some of the Metro section is quite remarkable. I might review on my blog in a week or two.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.

Frances: It is, isn't it? It's almost as if there's the perfect book out there and one day we'll find it. One does find earth shattering books from time to time that seriously affect us. Odd, to think there must be more either waiting to be found or waiting to be written.

Tfe: I like the idea of little hooks. I suppose we cling onto objects that we think define our identity. Books are a prime example.

DK: You know, your way of looking at the poem took me by surprise! Very interesting. (It's sometimes hard to see when you're up close to things).

PiR: Funny you should say that, I've just seen this book - in a shop that didn't take tokens! It looked really interesting, and I may well get it from one that does.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you?

S.L. Corsua said...

You've captured the atmosphere in such a place, nailed it perfectly. The view outside, the stillness inside, the whirring of the mind in the process of making a choice... and the mention of 'map' at the end bringing me back to the 'partial view' at the beginning. ;) Cheers.