My apartment floweth over with books. I’m not at the same stage as Lisa at ANZLL, of needing a separate room for my TBR, but I’m getting there. I said in an early post that my local second hand book shop was having a closing down sale, well 6 months later it finally is (closing down) and the owner has accepted my offer for all his remaining Australian books, 360 when we boxed and counted them.
When ex-Mrs Legend and I retire, in a few years though I’m eligible rather sooner, we plan to open a tea shop/bookshop, somewhere in the suburbs south of Fremantle probably, to eke out our meagre superannuations. Hopefully in a 1950s corner shop with residence attached, and a flat in the ‘Eyrie’ building where we can periodically escape from each other, as we have off and on for the past 20 years.
So when I saw an opportunity to begin accumulating stock I took it. But there’s so many amongst them I have to read! I am starting with Lucy Frost’s Wilde Eve, a memoir of Eve Langley reconstructed from her unpublished mss, another inclusion for Whispering Gums’ list of literary autobiographies. Then I have Colin Roderick’s Miles Franklin, Penne Hackforth-Jones’ Barbara Baynton, John Macarthur by M.H. Ellis, Henry Reynolds’ account of the Tasmanian Wars Fate of a Free People, a history of the Noongar claim over south west Western Australia and so much else, novels, biographies, Australiana, poetry even.
I have a daughter living with me for a short while, the psych student one, and her final English unit is Australian Literature and History 1890 – 1929. “In this unit you read a selection of poetry and short stories and a short novel as a basis for reflecting upon themes of nationality and gender in Australian literature and history. Texts include … Franklin’s My Brilliant Career …”. Very much the same area as my M.Litt dissertation so there has been much raiding of my bookshelves and of the new trove.
We were debating Lawson and Paterson by sms while I was away working and I suggested she look at City Bushman. Turns out the author Christopher Lee is course convenor, judicious quoting should be good for a couple of brownie points.
My next project now will be to establish a website for the shop. In a past life I was self-employed as a database programmer. Hopefully I have enough skills, and brain cells, left to set up a searchable online catalogue. I have retained the bookshop’s retail prices and once I have a site I will begin offering books for sale. My biggest problem then will be buyers wanting books I haven’t read yet!
Not a Review
I listened to Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North in the truck and will take MST’s advice – “life’s too short to review a book you don’t like”. I was predisposed not to like it and I didn’t. I grew up surrounded by WWII books (my favourite by a long way is Stand Easy, an anthology of stories written by soldiers waiting for demobilisation) and Flanagan on the POW experience adds nothing to The Bridge on the River Kwai (1952) by Pierre Boulle; if I want to know about Japanese contrition I will look out a Japanese author; love interest? I think not, maybe self interest; and the bushfire escape – positively Matthew Rielly-esque in its unlikelihood and B-gradedness.
(Not yet) Book Council of Australia
If you are interested in more of Minister for Arts he likes, Brandis’ bastardry in raiding the Arts Council you might want to read about the non-establishment of the Book Council of Australia in a recent Crikey (here).
I know there are colder places than WA but we, like you, have had a miserable winter and, despite lashings of rain last night, I think it is over. The wildflowers are out and Spring has sprung. I wouldn’t be anywhere else for quids.