There is something so appealing about a used book store. Everything about it: the way it finds you when you’re least looking for it, the smell inviting you closer, drawing you in, the way you’re pulled to run your fingers along the shelves, opening a book, a page, a sentence at random, like a giant personal tarot deck.
I always have interesting experiences in used bookstores, and am constantly curious about those who frequent them. Frankly, it is a great place to meet men. Even the elderly curators of my main spots are special, full of curiosities and eccentricities. Like this summer when in Venice I went into a very famous and impressive institution of this sort and the clerk who told me “Most women are a rose. You, my dear, are a bouquet”. Swoon.
Lately I have new observations. The first is that a local bloke made me realise that in every single place that used books are found, there is always at least one book from the Twilight series. Always. Ever since I’ve noticed this – though I’ve never had the urge to read them – they call my name with their ubiquity. Undoubtedly you’ll come to notice the same after reading this.
Then there was the American from Louisiana who picked up one of the all-time greatest finds of the book shop. HDR: Hot Dudes Reading. Based on a blog, this photo book is filled with borderline creepy pictures of nice looking men reading in public. (Somehow it’s acceptable for women to secretly snap pictures of dudes, make commentary on their appearance, add pervy hashtags and create a following of a million instagrammers). Although pervy and creepy and completely unacceptable if done in reverse, I can’t lie – I thought of about five girlfriends off the top of my head that might get this in their mail at random over the next year.
Yesterday in Perth I spent an hour perusing the shelves of one of the tiniest, most crowded bookstore to date. After making eyes with several potential Friday night dates, I picked up Murakami (Kafka on the Shore), held him close and decided to take him home with me. But I couldn’t stop there. Castaneda was so persistent… so he came too.