Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Treasury of Books Lost and Found (2)

"Those who trust us educate us."
-T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot must surely have visited the same bookstore that we did in Nevada City, Northern California. Spouse and I lived a stone's throw from that historical place and grew to know and love the streets as we spent more time perusing the stores and meeting the locals.
Very early in our time there we discovered a store called Moonshine Books. It was late Summer and dusky evening when we first found it. The store was closed. There was a shelf on the front porch- indeed there was a porch and it felt rather like being welcomed into somebody's home- and the shelf was cluttered with books of all sorts. A little note indicated that patrons could take as many books as desired so long as they put the correct amount of money through the letterbox. Spouse and I were amazed by the honesty that brought about such a notion and by the kindness of sharing books at a potential risk. Above all else their aim was to dispense books and that is as high as any bookstore ever shall rate in my humble estimation.
Because of that generous and goodhearted means of selling literature, through the excavation of one ragged and well-loved paperback I realised that I had been lacking Thomas Hardy in my reading life. In the years that followed I have proceeded to read other works by Hardy and cannot imagine how his twisting, tear-inducing, melancholic turns of fate and violently beautiful, rural England had been so awfully absent from my world of books. I have read nothing since quite like Hardy's books and treasure the small collection I possess.
On that cool and shady evening, under the shelter of magnificent, cordial Northern California trees I found an honest group of human beings, 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' and my next great joy.


Anonymous said...

It's a long time since I read Hardy, though I loved them all when I was younger. If I had to live anywhere else but England, I think I would become addicted again.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I've only really discovered Hardy since leaving Ireland, so I can relate. I mostly love his depictions of the wild countryside.
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