My heart’s desire

has always been to own a bookstore. I keep myself awake at night planning my shop. Where it will be; what it looks like outside; constantly rearranging the layout inside. I run over in my mind how to set up the legal end of owning a shop and accounting procedures;  how to source books; what kind of computer set-up I will need to track inventory, even what kind of payment I will accept and how to manage that. I worry about all the practical aspects of owning a shop.

The kind of books I will sell? That’s the easy part. I will only sell what I love, what I like. It will be a bookstore doomed to failure because of that. When love is the driving force then failure is a given.

You can’t make someone love something. Regardless of how truly fabulous and wonderful it might be. You can’t take your joy and pour it on someone and expect it to be absorbed, to become their joy.

Yesterday I needed to experience joy. So I started reading, again, for the 4th time, “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. This book is joy to me. This book is about love. This book is about the love of books. There is something about people who love books .  They are picky, opinionated but devoted and loyal to a fault when they love – be it books or people.

Rory asked in a post this morning “What is your favorite quote and why do you like it so much?”  How could anyone pick just one? If you are a reader then you have so many quotes that transported you, spoke to you on a deeply intimate level, raised you up, comforted you, challenged your perceptions.

If you have neither the time nor the inclination to read “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” then I offer you some of my favorite quotes from the book – share my joy.

“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.”

“The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.”

“My life is in these books. Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end we are collected works.”

Gotta Love It!

I’m reading “The Sweet Remnants of Summer” by Alexander McCall Smith. This is the 14th in a series and I’ve read them all and have a folder of excerpts I’ve copied from them. Isabel Dalhousie is the protagonist and she is the publisher/editor of a philosophy journal.

So far I have copied out these and I’m only on page 114.

Isabel Dalhousie is having a conversation with Laura on the doorstep of Laura’s house –

Isabel pressed the bell marked Please Pull. She smiled at the Please –a human touch that was being edged out of such instructions. Buttons now simply said Press, which was more in keeping with the straightforward tone of life today. Signs said Walk or Don’t Walk; they never said Please Don’t Walk, which of course had a ring of despair about it: We’ve told you so many times before not to walk..

Isn’t that delightful?

Following close at heel is this conversation which I love because – it’s everything I’ve thought, or said, about getting old, being old, and dying. Whenever someone says they’ve lost someone, meaning the person died, I always think, but never say, “How careless!”

Anyway – the excerpt –

” Old?” prompted Isabel. It was a word that contemporary squeamishness was on the point of retiring, in favour of a euphemism. But what was wrong with old? It was ridiculous to elbow it out of the language in the same way as we were losing the verb to die. We all died, and no amount of suggesting that we passed could protect us from that fact. So, too, did we become old rather than becoming senior or elderly or even fully mature, like cheeses.

Laura appeared relieved that she could speak directly.”Yes, very old. I believe she was close to one hundred.” She paused. ” And proud of it.”

“So she should be,” said Isabel. “When I get to that stage – if I get there – I don’t want anybody telling me I can’t be old. I shall be happy to be described as ancient.” She thought for a moment. “And then when I proceed to die, I shall be most annoyed if anybody says that I am simply passing. Passing where, might one ask? Not everyone believes that we go somewhere when we shrug off this mortal coil.” 

Laura laughed. “There’s an expression for you.”

“Shrugging off this mortal coil?” said Isabel. “Yes, it’s wonderful expression. It suggests a certain relief, doesn’t it? It suggests that one might actually be rather relieved to get away from everything. With one shrug we are free.. And then one might be described as defunct, which is a splendid way of putting it, isn’t it? There’s no arguing with being defunct- that’s it, so to speak.”

That’s just brilliant – defunct instead of dead. Perfect!

And when a person is described as being 85 years (or how many years they are) young, I scream “Old, they are 85 years OLD”.  Hell, for that matter a person is x number of years old regardless of the number of years.

I hope you enjoyed this. I’m off now, back to the book.


There is no such word as “loved” love has no past tense. If you ever stop loving someone then you never truly loved them in the first place. -Unknown~

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. i’ll always be with you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh