ODES TO THE BOOKSELLERS ODES
TO THE TO THE BO
The Bookseller called for authors to pen an “ode to booksellers” as part of a celebration of the trade. The idea came from author Matson Taylor, who wrote his own tribute to booksellers, following a book tour he under- took in summer 2020. Here are a selection of those submitted.
Dear lovely, high-street bookshop, I’m writing you this ode to say, please stock my novel when you’re back on the road.
There’s nothing like a bookshop, the smell, the sights, the staff, the expertise, the knowledge And—though you may laugh— it’s been my dream to see my book in pride of place in store.
Sure, I know it’s on the net. But really, nothing’s more completely life-affirming than seeing your own name stacked next to the likes of Shakespeare, and J K Whatshername.
I mean, it’s not important. It doesn’t mean that much… (It’s just my whole life’s toil and work and blood and sweat and such)
I’ve been there.
The book you stop stickering to peek inside, The novel you find when a customer only knows “it’s blue”, The calming zen of reordering the back shelves, I’ve been there.
The quiet shifts spent reading, The busy ones spent smiling, reaching, stooping, carrying, The aching feet, I’ve been there.
The waiting for the last late-night browser to head back out into the rain, The huddling in the shop doorway because you forgot the clocks changed, The terrifying responsibility of recommending someone’s next read, I’ve been there.
And I remember how incredible it all feels. And how special being a bookseller is. And how amazing you all are.
Red Corona out now
n t now
Tim Gliste is th author o Red Corona (Oneworld out
Timiim Glis the orld)
G ter is the author of eworo d)
Gillian Harvey Perfect (Orion) will be
on Paper Orion) will be published on 13th May
G ian Harv r (O
publ b ished on 13th May ’s’s Perf
I’m breezy, oh! So breezy, I’m fine if you say no. I won’t cry, or wail or scream or smash things up. Although…
I don’t mean to upset you, or make you shed a tear, but if this flops I’m going to have to get a new career.
Yours sincerely, kind regards, best wishes and so forth, erb lots of love, yours faithfully, A N Other desperate author.
O, bookseller—how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of thine shiny bookshelves, reaching almost out of sight.
I love thine quiet passion for stories yet unknown, ever waiting to press them into the hands of those both growing and full grown.
“I wonder if you could help me, there’s this book I want…”
“The woman on the front is wearing a yellow coat.”
“Golden lettering, in a Medieval font.”
“The cover has a tiger and someone sailing a boat.”
“My mum said she thinks the writer might be French.”
“About a fat king who just can’t find a wife.”
“They made a film of it, starring Judi Dench.”
“A boy who opens up worlds with a magic knife.”
“The Scottish one who won the Booker Prize.”
“That whodunnit with the bloke called whatsit Strike.”
“‘It’s about a robot kid who’s chased by spies.”
“Can you recommend something you think I’d like?”
So long as readers come with books in mind, Those brilliant sellers know, and look, and find.
Beth Morrey s début no eovell Saving Missy H rperCol (HarperCollins) is out now in paperback
B MoBeth Mor SavingM
Sav ng Mis
M rey’’s début no (Ha
Ha per is out nis out now io n paperbac c
e Collins ack
Louise Mumford is the author of Sleepless ( which is out now
ouise Mumf f is the
author of Sleeples (HQ), which is out now
I love thee for the long hours, the stock-taking and wrestling numbers so they agree, and even as the world closes, thou strive to open up new worlds for us to see.
These worlds are bound within the spines of books thou dust, place, and adore, and I love thee for the support of a green debut who, one day, arrived at thine door.
O Bookseller, thou art a brave champion and defender of the high street, ready to stand thy ground against the online giants that thou meet.
But mostly, I love thee for the way thou would be brave enough to say: “What is written here is not an ode, my dear, far from it... It is more like a rather badly conceived sonnet.”
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