Saturday, 1 May 2010

Notes From The Book Front

It's a war.

I work in a war zone.

Basically, warfare.

I could use this space to list and catalogue the myriad cuts and scratches and bruises and grazes and sort-of-painful-bits-that-don't-really-show-up, but I'm not going to.
I nearly did, but then I didn't. Believe me, it was a close decision. Because I love to list and catalogue. I honestly do. None of the books in The Shop are alphabetised, and that hurts my precious little soul, in a hundred splendidly crap ways.

But I won't list/catalogue my injuries, for fear of belittling the war. Sure, there's physical hardship, and the odd maiming: coffee table books that show The Earth as it appears from a little bit above The Earth are heavy and sharp-cornered. They accelerate from a top shelf to a forehead at a lot more than 9.81 m/s.
But that's not where this war is really fought, and they're not the serious weapons. It's a lot worse than that. I'll be talking about some of the most potent weaponry in some later posts, and -- for those of a strong disposition -- I will show the effect they can have on people. But none of this, yet.

As a great man never said, 'only context'. Here it is: these weapons only make sense against the background of what-the-hell. The worst thing about this war is the confusion. It's sort of a civil war, though it's not that civil; there are at least a dozen sides, guerrilla militia is normal, and I think there's probably some terrorists. Nobody knows who they're fighting, but that doesn't stop them fighting as dirty as they can.

Richard Adams, who is (as much as I can be sure anyone is) one of the Good Guys, called the thousand enemies of rabbits the Elil. I would use that term here, except at least the Elil weren't all fighting each other, and at least they were different sort of animals...
But then again, with all those enemies, the rabbits still had a war amongst themselves. Maybe the analogy carries better than I thought, then. So that's who we're fighting: the Elil. And each other. And rabbits.

I make no promises to alleviate the confusion: I shall only report it. But don't turn your nose up at that. Sources (ie. this blog) are alleging that Learning To Read offers the only unbiased reportage of the war there is.
You see, I might work for The Shop, but that's just a way to get right into the centre of the melee. I've considered the matter, and I have no loyalty to The Shop, any colleagues, any publishers, anyone who ever wrote a shit book, anyone who ever read one, or anyone else at all. Ever.

I would say I'm on the side of literature, but I read some once and it ruined my day.


  1. None of the books are in alphabetical order? Holy shit dude. Now, I'm a firm proponent of having certain non-fiction sections organized by subject (my beloved history, for example) because it's easier for the browsing public. But fiction's gotta be alpha! It's just gotta!

  2. I HATE that about the particular bookshop you work in. Alphabetisation of things should be made a legal obligation.