The bookshop was like a vessel that carried me down literature’s great road…

Comments (5)
  1. prying1 says:

    Excellent! Makes me want to go stand in the rain in front of a bookstore late at night but in my area it does not rain often and if I didn’t get mugged I’d be dragged off for loitering.

    I’m glad your father was good at “reading the forms” and that you got to “feed developing bibliophilic tendencies”.

    Thanks for sharing your journey through your life of discovery in and through books. From the pictures posted on Flickr I see you have not stepped off that path. Excellent pictures.

    Your story leading up to the differences Amazon makes in a young persons searching methods shows the difference our modern world gravitates toward. (A scene from Chaplin’s “Modern Times goes through my mind.) I think however that man’s innate character has ‘search’ as a major element (why is Google so popular?) and the defect of the ‘sterilized path’ Amazon offers will be overcome by the hints and clues found in the books they do recommend.

    Thanks for an excellent article!

  2. George says:

    Thanks for dragging me back down memory lane.

    As a 13 year old I frequented a small branch of the library just over a block from my residence and read all the Jack London books.

    Amazingly enough 35 years later (about six months after I opened my own shop) I was stunned to realize I had set up shop exactly where the library had existed. A couple of years later the former librarian at that location visited my store.

    It is heartwarming now, 21 years later, to have young folks tell me their parents used to bring them into my stores – one of them said he and his daughter make the rounds of our stores every month.

    Your outstanding article is further evidence impressions of our childhood are very powerful – thanks for reviving mine.

  3. William Hammond says:

    Thank you Prying1 for your kind words. It is a good point that the ‘sterilized path’ can be overcome by the books themselves. I would also add that fond memories, for the reader, can also be crystallised in receiving a neatly wrapped package containing an anticipated book through the post. Personally I have had no problems with buying my books online. The main point of the final paragraph was how the corporates intrusion in recommending a certain path, based on other customers buying habits, can be reductionist. Maybe its just me, but I find that ‘if you like this, you will also like…’ concept maddening.

    George, I lived in Calgary for 3 years (2005-2008) and your shop on the corner of 17th Ave and 14th st was a familiar haunt for me. I remember spending many an evening sat at the table at the back of your shop selecting books to buy. The foothills of the Rockies seems a great place to read Jack London. Thank you.


    PS. The photographs accompanying the article were skillfuly selected by Bruce, they were not taken by me.

    1. Colin Waller says:

      Dear William, I recently read and enjoyed your article and could not help noticing a similarity with a bookshop in the town where I have resided since the late seventies. Coincidentally, this town is located approximately 100 miles from London as well. The bookshop I have in mind is called ‘Inprint’ and having looked again at your description of the owner I cannot help but wonder if this is the unnamed shop referred to in your article.
      I also have a friend who I know as ‘Hammy’ who has recently moved back to Canada who also used to frequent ‘Inprint’, however, his actual (sur)name is Hammond. I wonder if you could be in any way related.

      Kind regards,

      Colin (Waller)

  4. Cherie says:

    Thinking of you with pocket money for books and immersing yourself in the bookstore as a youngster reminds me of myself. Thank goodness for our fathers who believed books were a necessity not a luxury.
    I love how you allude that the bookshop and in a way book covers are like treasures. They are are indeed! Every time a bookstore closes my heart breaks. Amazon just isn’t the same. Thanks for sharing your literary awakening and literary love story! I look forward to more enjoyable pieces!

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