Bookish Dreams

People always fantasise about a different life, away from the daily stresses of traffic, work, and crowded public spaces. They want to be able to walk away and do something which is decadently satisfying. Invariably the dreams are about travel, food or books. Peter Mayle in the 90s covered all three in the bingo of life by moving to Provence, eating his way through the year and writing a very successful book about it. He inspired so many people that he ultimately had to run away from Provence as it became overcrowded with expats and his home became a tourist attraction!
There are people who, despite being very successful in their chosen careers, dream of going off to a remote and inaccessible Hill Station, opening a bookshop, spending the day sitting and reading, with no customers shadowing the doorway. Then there are those who want to buy an isolated Island out in the middle of turquoise seas, so that they can concentrate on writing, away from the distractions of the world.
The most fascinating one that we have heard of so far is the Walking BookFairs, a book truck, run by a couple from Orissa, which visits towns and villages too small to have bookshops.
PS: The ideal combination of books and travel could possibly be the one where you travel with books and bring them to other people. There is something appealing and aspirational about a travelling bookshop/ library and those who run them.
LL: I always thought that such things belonged in times past and remained in racial memory only through fiction.
PS: The idea of travelling around on a book truck is so Terry Pratchett. It reminded me of the travelling librarians stuck out in the snow storm, inveigled into lending books to the Nac Mac Feegles in Wintersmith.
LL: I wonder if they sell their books or barter them for the needs of the road like the man in The Little Paris Bookshop who sold his books on a barge, then went mad and started travelling up and down the river bartering books for survival.
PS: There has to be an element of insanity in order to do something as magical as spending your life on a book truck or book barge.
LL: The saving grace is that there are still people existing in this world who will be attracted by a book truck and buy from it. I would have thought that the truck would largely be ignored.
PS: I don’t think so, the allure of just checking out what books may be available is quite strong. I can never walk past a pavement cart loaded with assorted second hand books without stopping to glance through them. Even though I know that there will not be much more than a few Fredrick Forsythes and the odd John Grishams with some copies of The Monk who sold his Ferrari thrown into the mix.
LL: I wonder…Is it that readers and writers dream of running away more than other people? Or is it just that their escapism is more appealing to others?


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