How did I not know about this place, basically the most beautiful bookshop in London? Hidden away a ten minutes walk from King’s Cross, on Regent’s canal, this boat is full packed of books (and if you have good books, bring them in, they’re always collecting) and music. Even before getting close to the boat you can hear a sound wave of relaxing jazz and blues.
And then you step inside and find two cats, a hot stove, some cosy chairs and pillows to sit on and, of course, loads of books.
I know now where I’m going to make my open mic debut and even if they don’t do such events, I’ll make sure they will. This is the place. It’s called Word on the Water and it’s open every day 12 – 7pm.
oh how I love a good bookshop! you know you’re in the right place (and the right moment) when you accidentally stumble upon one of the two novels that J.K Toole has written in a past lifetime.
John Kennedy Toole was 31 when he died.
I feel like there’s no better time to re-read A Confederacy of Dunces – that reached publication in the 80’s, eleven years after his death – and dive into The neon Bible, something that he’s written at age 16 for a literary contest.
I’ve only read The Confederacy in French, and at that time (like 7 years ago) it was part of a course on l’idiotie. I almost remember, having to read Dostoievski in French was not fun at all. But I was overwhelmed with joy to meet J.K. Toole’s genius and it changed me for-eveeer. I wish he’d written loads more.
words belong to each other like people belong to books not like we used to
belong to each other in a past lifetime
I like to think of books as objects that smell of stale chocolate and a bit of dust. Like an old box of biscuits that’s now used to store
lost&found buttons, needles, pins, ribbons, broken crayons, chalk
an invisible collection of fantasias and sonatas from the 17th century
but that would be too much, wouldn’t it?
Words grow on you like hair, that book told me once and it’s been hard to find a new book since. You get high expectations, you feed on their ways of producing chemical reactions in your body and your body gets used to it. And when it’s over, you have to readjust, you have to slap your own face and tell yourself a million times that you’re gonna be just fine without it and you’re just fine and then you don’t trust your own words but then yeah why wouldn’t you. When it stops, it kinda is for real, I mean you’re not getting any more messages or calls or rings or bells – that’s how they call it here – I mean how is that even possible? Books, like people, are terrible beings. They end. They leave you alone with fears and darkness and doubt to the extent that you can’t even decide if you’re going to get a coffee in costa but the wi-fi might not work or if you should just buy some ground coffee go home and make it yourself. But then you think – yeah but once I get home I’m going to be so sad, so much self-pity oh no – and then costa it is but really isn’t it better if I just man up and go home, I’ve got work to do. No, they’re terrible beings I’m telling you.
It’s been ten years since I found Pavic’s poetic novels but I got the Landscape almost a year ago and just like with something too precious to touch, I’ve been hiding it between other lovely books that sleep and dream about being read.
I started reading it on the train to Richmond and realised how overwhelming it is, how full of poetry. This is not an easy read, it takes time to sink in and travel through your head to toes.
“Words grow on you like hair” (p.17)
I wish they grew on me like hair, it would all be so easy. So easy to write the letter I’m too scared to write, because at the end of it, when it’s all signed and folded, that will be it. It will make me silent, but certainly not quiet.
Sometimes, at the end of a relationship, we desperately try to readjust to the reality of being single. The evenings that used to be spent with someone who would be there not just for the cuddles, but more like an extension of yourself – suddenly become evenings of a lot of time and space – and that extension of yours does no longer protect you. Instead, you have to learn to hug yourself to sleep.
My recent experience got my friends saying “yes! lets make u a dating profile!” And I was like “Hell no!”
I’m sure everyone has different ways of dealing with it. My way is spending every day a little time in coffee shops (and wherever the bus or tube will take me). And I recently discovered this amazing place called All you read is Love – they have a wonderful selection of books and coffees (and that, for me, is salvation).
So I started to date books. I’m not going to fall in love with them (or am I?) but we’re going to chat over a drink.
My first date is with Zadie Smith, On Beauty, in All you read is Love and we’re having a chai latte. I shuffle through its tiny pages and read a few, it’s kinda turning me on but I can’t help feeling a little bit angry (and guilty) because I miss my Swing time so much! Thing is, I left the book at my sister’s a month ago and she still hasn’t sent it back. So it’s there, half read, half naked.