Monday, 19 March 2012

Communing in an Oxfam Bookshop

I popped into my local Oxfam Bookshop the other day and as I was perusing the poetry shelf, I noticed a signed copy of my own collection, Communion, rubbing shoulders with Thomas Hardy and Seamus Heaney.  I didn't know what to think at first.  Should I feel pleased, outraged, discouraged or amused?

I settled for amused, although I couldn't help wondering who'd taken it there.  I'd recently done a couple of readings in the nearby church, where I'd signed and sold books, so it was likely to be one of those.  And yes, that made sense, I told myself, because all the attendees were pretty old and old people don't tend to hang onto stuff like younger people do.  They would have read it and then taken it to the shop with a pile of other books, so that when they died their relatives wouldn't have loads of sorting out to do ... yes, that would explain it.  And I smiled at the thought of my books seeking their fortune, their poems wrapped up in a red kerchief with white spots and tied to a stick over their shoulders ...



... and two days later, I went back and bought it.  I shall use it as a reading copy, and every time I open it, I shall remember a) whom it was snuggled up between on the bookshelf, and b) to stay humble.   




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