Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Figgs and Phantoms (1)

"When you sell a man a book, you don't sell him 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue- you sell him a whole new life."

-Christopher Morley

Ah, books. I take so much joy from them. This particular long-buried gem, an old library copy and much-loved, to judge from its appearance, is promising to provide all that I yearn for in reading material. I am stepping tentatively through the pages, much as I did with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Should author Ellen Raskin have known anything of my adoration for the latter no doubt she would have been heartened.
Rarely do I turn away after a single page to both absorb the words and mourn their passing. So far there is sufficient oddness, sparkling literary quality, good humour and general impression of fondness for books to satiate this oft-finicky and rather conscientious reader.
I cared, in a manner of speaking, for the two leading characters having only read the opening chapter- one filled with incalculable amounts of dust and must, and punctuated charmingly by whimsical and exceptional book lovers.

The giant paused to adjust to the dim dustiness, then shuffled toward the rear wall, past Enenezer Bargain perched on a tall stool behind his high desk. The wizened bookseller was bent over a book, thick glasses weighing heavily on his beaked nose.
Mona bit hard on her upper lip, trying to stifle a sneeze as she stared down from the dizzying height at the small bald spot on top of the old man's head. The bald spot reflected the shop's one hanging bulb; and it seemed to Mona that years of sitting in the same position must have burned this desert patch in his thicket of silver hair.

I look forward to the rest of the book with happy impatience.

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