The Uncensored Diary of a Bookseller — guerilla bookselling

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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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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Happy Capitalist Monday

Posted by Wally O Neill on

On Black Friday I find myself wandering aimlessly into the second biggest store of the country’s leading bookshop franchise. Perilously wading through a humming crowd looking for some sign that books are still at the centre of the buying mobs’ heart, only to discover three quarters of this ‘bookshop’ is covered by candles, novelty cards and strange pencils. And that’s the part of the store where the mob is congregating, fighting over who gets the last of the twenty percent reduced Bibi Baskin calendars. Back out on the high street (and they’re all starting to look the same), I’m accosted...

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Six Years a Bookseller

Posted by Wally O Neill on

Mosley says that WB Yeats died of TB after his blindness and early onset dementia made him confuse Lady Gregory’s cat for a rabid Badger, which bit him when he stroked its mane and called it polly. “The establishment covered it up of course,” he tells me in hurried hushed tones, as unsuspecting customers browse around us. “Sure what would happen if the world found out our most successful poet mistook a cat for a rabid badger? We’d be the laughing stock of the literary world. Stupid auld hoor anyway.” Six years ago I began an odyssey into the multi-layered...

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Another one bites the dust...

Posted by Wally O Neill on

Kevin Gildea had a fabulous piece in the Irish Times recently about his bookstore in Dún Laoghaire. Unfortunately it’s closing next January. Another book reservation tarmacadamed over by “progress” to make room for vapeshops and Amazon fulfilment centres. Gildea gave a few very interesting quotes. “As at a cat or dog shelter, I took in books with no homes to go to, from people clearing out houses because of death or downsizing: books that would otherwise go to the dump.” I visited Gildea’s bookstore, being a bookstore geek who can’t walk past one without dipping in for a hunt, and...

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