Since my last post about high tea in Melbourne, I have enjoyed another two events (in Brisbane and Sydney) with booksellers, who are smart, funny and creative people who absolutely LOVE books with all their might. Where in the world would we be without booksellers? I can’t even imagine but I know that’s not a world I want to live in.
You see, I spend a lot of time in bookshops, gazing at books as others might gaze at works of art in a museum, smelling the books (it might be a tad addictive), and writing. I sit quietly in corners, on couches, and sometimes on the floor. I find immense inspiration in the words and images already in print and there’s something just a little bit transcendental about absorbing the best of what surrounds me.
And I also listen (eavesdrop is really too strong a word) to the booksellers. And they are amazing. People come in and ask the most vague or helpless question about a book they want but can’t remember the name of, or about the gift they need to buy for their child/ neighbour/ boss/ crazy uncle, and those booksellers SELL. My word they do. But they don’t just hand over anything. Their passion and belief in a book spills over in their words and gestures and the customer smiles with relief and walks away happy. And I sit there with my notebook/laptop, pulling words from my brain for my next book, and I think, ‘Wow, I hope someone does that for my book one day.’
For me, the greatest part of the high teas was getting to talk to these champions of books and authors and publishers, hear how they constantly reinvent themselves to compete with global markets, and admire their tenacity and wit.
This Christmas, buy books! For everyone in your life, from your mother to your dog. And support the booksellers who are out there every day keeping our books alive.
Me with my friend, Kathleen, who came with me to Sydney, doing the tourist thing and stopping for a selfie.