The Uncensored Diary of a Bookseller — bookseller

In Search of Lost Time inside a Book

Posted by Wally O Neill on

"It is wonderful and magnificent that the gathering of books in this country is not in the hands of college professors and great scholars. It is paradoxically but true that not a single library in the world has been formed by a great scholar.” ASW Rosenbach   There’s a mild-mannered man who comes into the bookshop every lunchtime to browse. His preferences are eclectic. He never seems to browse the same shelf twice or gravitate towards a particular section. His movements are erratic, random, maybe even doddering.   Flash told me once that the man had lost his memory while...

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Ban the Book - or how a fake African Mystic committed fraud in a secondhand bookshop

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“Torch every book. Burn every page. Char every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. And therein lies your real fear." ― Ellen Hopkins Papa John the self-proclaimed great African Mystic wanders into the bookshop, shouting into his camera phone about ether spirits in a thick, badly put on Nigerian accent. When the call ends, he reverts to his own Wexford town lingo. “Alright sahn, what’s the crack?” “How’s business John?” “That’s Papa John there brudder. Don’t ruin me rep. I have eighteen clients now getting hexes and love potions and rain dances. All sorts of auld nonsense. Paying the bills...

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Dirty Books

Posted by Wally O Neill on

Larry the Ostrich is responsible for more babies in the South East than alcohol, the Catholic Church and Ann Summers combined. Twenty-three stone of ever rumbling gas excreting bulk, Larry wears a standard uniform of stained jeans, torn Carlsberg t-shirt two sizes too small and a John deer baseball cap. “Me auld fella used to say you’ll never get anywhere reading those auld dirty books ,” Larry tells me laying across a fresh display of science fiction, “But I’m after bringing more women in Wexford to climax than any rampant rabbit or studded vibrator and all without laying a single...

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2023 - A Bookshop Odyssey

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“If he was indeed mad, his delusions were beautifully organized.”- Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space OdysseyPockets sits on the shop window sill trying to beat the lid off a bent tin of quality street with a stick. He reminds me of one of the ragged hominids in 2001 inspired to use clubs to beat the hell out of wild game, and then each other, by a giant alien monolith. He manages to get rid of the lid and fills his pockets with the precious cargo as I open the shutters to another grey miserable day. January is depression incarnate,...

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A MODEST PROPOSAL

Posted by Wally O Neill on

A MODEST PROPOSALFor preventing Amazon customers from being a burden on the local economy and small business by skinning, boiling and eating them.The Sheriff of Nottingham slips into the book fair through the fire exit to avoid parting with the two euro entrance fee. The fact that he had to claw up a two storey redbrick vertical wall hasn’t damaged his state of perfectly eccentric pompous dress – tweed jacket with leather arm patches, a tightly sealed gothic waistcoat complete with obviously fake pocket watch, a comically long purple scarf, shiny black riding boots, a pair of vintage spectacles defying...

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