Monday, February 15, 2010

The Bookseller – Elizabeth Hardwick



Elizabeth Hardwick - July 27, 1916 – December 2, 2007

The last time I encountered Hardwick, I didn’t much care for her story. This time around, her writing fell a bit easier on me.

I’ve often thought about what it would be like to engage in book selling. I’ll admit, I don’t think I would do a good job at all in that profession. I would hate to part with the books. I’m sure that I would seek out books to fill my shelves, but I would place myself in an interesting position when it came to selling them.

Loaning books – I don’t even like doing that. I have been burned too many times by people who have “lost” the books that I lent them.

Calisher in her introduction, states that Hardwick’s story does the job of reminding us of literatures place in our world.

I really wonder what its place is today. The world has change so much in the years since Calisher made that observation and chose this story as a way to present her point.

I do not have a firm grasp (who really does) on where, as a society, literature fits into our world.

Because I read so much, because I focus so much on the literary world, my view is skewed.

I feel that not enough people are reading – I feel that back in the 80’s when Hardwick wrote this and Calisher included it, there was a little teetering towards where we are today. Calisher proves to be prophetic once again.

Are people buying books? Are people reading the books that they buy? Are books that are being published really worth publishing?

My history with books is one that I have touched on before in these writings so I needn’t repeat myself...but, my recent relationship with books has really taken on a new and interesting dimension since I started this project of learning and self discovery.

I have learned so many lessons and my perspective on the world has shifted due to some of what I have read. The stories have opened my eyes, allowed me to see people for who they really are – to cut through the noise of the world that we live in today through lessons that were written many years ago – which carry so much weight today.

I can’t stress how important this exercise is for me.

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