Hello all — I’m running a little behind on my blogging; we’ve taken in a lot of book purchases recently and I’ve been working on cataloging them! A bookseller’s to-do list is always expanding, while the time to accomplish these tasks is always contracting. (To make things worse, we’ve just turned the clocks ahead one hour).
I try to do more reading this time of year as well — I believe it’s crucial for a bookseller to read books, although it’s often difficult to fit reading time into a day, so I tend to do it late at night. I recently finished reading a new book A Very Simple Crime by first-time novelist Grant Jerkins (Berkely Prime Crime, November 2010). I did an interview with him last week, so watch for it on Bookthink in the near future.
I’ve also been reading a delightful book by John Maxwell Hamilton titled Casanova Was a Book Lover – And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling and Reading of Books (Louisiana State University Press, 2000).
This book contains not only fascinating information about Casanova (who collected books with as much avarice as he did women), but interesting statistics, history and information on authors and their struggles to get published and eke out a living. There is a chapter on book theft, and astute observations on the state of literature today and the future of libraries and books. Tidbits of interesting but obscure information to delight any bibliophile pepper the book, and fitting quotes head up each chapter.
All book lovers have faced the problem of lending out books to friends, which are then lost forever (the books, not necessarily the friends). Here’s the quote which begins his chapter on book theft in all its various forms:
“Never lend books, for no one ever returns them. The only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.” – Anatole France
Ha! Most of us are probably guilty of borrowing a book at some time from a friend or a library and never returning it. But Hamilton also delves into big-time book theft and its prosecution.
All in all, this is a fascinating book to have by your bedside. It’s not heavy reading, and you can open it just about anywhere and learn some interesting facts about the world of books–past, present and future.