John Steinbeck

Crying in the Book Store

When I go into my local book store, I spend a lot of time looking at what is new on the shelves. I pick up new books and I study the covers, I feel the books in my hand for several seconds (especially if the covers have indents or raised design) and then I read the first paragraph and then a paragraph at a random page.

Very often new books disappoint me, I read yesterday a book that said about a prisoner of the Japanese in World War Two: “He put on his only clothes, a dirty hat and a cock rag that he wore like a g-string that barely covered his cock.” It was a reputable release that had won a major award. It’s not just the language, I love words and I enjoy swearing if used correctly, it was the fact that the author was not creating magic he just seemed to be producing words.

I then spend a long time in the classics section. The classics section makes me cry. I actually stand in the book store with tears in my eyes, because the books there are so good and I know that I will never be as good as those authors who have gone before.

I stand in the store crying quietly. The staff look at me, the security cameras turn in my direction and other customers get away from me but it makes me feel so good and so happy even though I am not worth a fraction of Charles Dickens or John Steinbeck.

They are giants whose books made my childhood and adult life much better than they would have been without them.