N° 2 in the The Writer’s Affliction, part of A to Z Blogging Challenge
Normal behaviour: go into a bookshop, browse, buy a book (maybe). Strange behaviour: buy a book on Amazon, go into a bookshop, put it there. The strange behaviour could be an exercise in lateral thinking – who the hell would do such a thing? Answer: a writer.
Bricks and mortar. Real books made of paper on real shelves made of wood. Nothing quite like it, hey? So I bought two copies of One Green Bottle at a discount from my publisher, Meizius, and put them in Book in Bar. That’s a cool English language book shop in Aix en Provence, where you can drink tea, eat scones and, if you’re that way inclined, buy a book. There’s a little section for books about Provence, so OGB went there, just opposite the counter where you order your tea. But I guess if you’re wondering whether to go for pecan pie or carrot cake, you don’t turn around and cry, ‘Wow! A book called One Green Bottle set in Provence! Just what I want!’ No, you go to your table and say, ‘They’ll bring it over in a minute. It was Darjeeling you wanted, wasn’t it?’
So the last time I was in there, I asked if I could put one of the books in the crime section. ‘Sure,’ said Anne, the friendly proprietor, ‘Whatever you want.’ I didn’t actually take her at her word. Whatever I want? Well, I want to put the books right next to the till with a sign saying, ‘Buy One Green Bottle and get three other books of your choice for free!’ I think she might have balked at that. So I put the book on the crime shelf, obediently following alphabetical order, which meant I had the privilege of going right next to Dan Brown. ‘Are you sure you want to be next to him?’ Anne asked, making it sound as if I was sitting on a plane with an Ebola patient. I gave the matter some thought. ‘Oh, I can live with that,’ I said. ‘He sells like hot scones, maybe a couple of crumbs will come my way.’
I’m still waiting for the crumbs. But I’m not too bothered. Every time friends come to visit, it gives me an excuse to take them to Book in Bar, scoff a slice of pecan pie and say, ‘See that book up there?’
‘What, Inferno, you mean? Brilliant!’
I think I’ll be going to Book in Bar for many years to come.