The Uncensored Diary of a Bookseller

Crowley’s Literary bombs and the Riverdance conspiracy

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“Did you ever hear about Aleister Crowley’s attempts to produce a literary bomb?” Rosencrantz lays across my counter, feigning relaxation, waiting for me to answer. Beside him, his ever present dogsbody Guildenstern is frothing at the mouth, hoping against hope that he’ll be allowed to deliver the punchline for once. “Its rumoured that he created a letter that would eradicate the brain of the reader during an act of black ritual magick,” Rosencrantz goes on. “The British government paid him to do it and send the letter to Hitler in early 1940. Unfortunately it was intercepted by Hess and the...

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The Patron Saint of Booksellers

Posted by Wally O Neill on

St John of God is the patron Saint of booksellers. He’s also the patron Saint of the mentally ill. That probably speaks volumes. The Book Buddha nods off behind a row of exquisite leather-bound folios across the hall from me. Another book fair with more book sellers than book buyers. Why do we put ourselves through this torture? Packing up boxes of books, driving across the country, only to be met with an indifferent and, often, non-existent audience. As you sit among a room of books, books for every conceivable taste, without a potential reader in sight, the terrible thought...

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Unconventional Customers #77

Posted by Wally O Neill on

All things move in cycles they say and our cycle, the bookseller’s cycle, is coming to an end. There was a day when bookshops ruled the roost and had respect. Thirty miles of book shelving in Foyles. The smell of leather and print in Livraria Bertrand. Brendan Behan throwing a cooked chicken at Patrick Kavanagh as he attempted to recite the stony grey soil of Monaghan in Parsons. Joyce and Hemingway sitting under the unused mantelpiece at 12 rue de l'Odeon in Paris. Enza Pound preaching. Sylvia Beach, sweet Sylvia, running around after Joyce, making sure he had enough money...

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The Ingenious Gentleman Cyclist of Wexford town (Being the first part of a notorious epic)

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”- Don Quixote (Cervantes) A fondness for dullness can be a dangerous thing. Particularly when you run a bookshop like mine. These bookshops are like light bulbs in the abyss for the mentally deranged. Don’t get me wrong – most of the people who visit our shop are beautiful souls; readers, book lovers, present hunters, browsers, writers, artists and thinkers. All wonderful and all welcome. But the bookshop, like all of its kind, also operates as a beacon for the...

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The Dublin Book Market

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“And when all was said and done the lies a fellow told about himself couldn't probably hold a proverbial candle to the wholesale whoppers other fellows coined about him.”- James Joyce (Ulysses) Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the coffee shop, balancing two almond lattes on his forward apt. He gracefully manoeuvred the early morning park denizens, dog walkers, crack addicts, desperate tiktokers, never spilling a drop of his precious nectar and never once missing an opportunity to chance a sale. “A bookfair here this morning madam. Yes, lovely day for it. Why not check out my worthy tomes? You’re...

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