- November 15, 2018
- By Admin: mrbauld
“Of making books there is no end” said Ecclesiastes a few millenia ago, and we can only hope he is right. The computer screen is a poor substitute for a three dimensional real thing.( Is it possible to read a novel on a screen?) Full length novels exist on the internet but to what advantage I am not sure. However, when a work of literature is searchable, as with Shakespeare and William Blake, the advantage as a research tool is clear, but hardly as a substitute for a live book. Retail books have grown expensive, but fortunately, in one sense, books remain as undervalued as ever, and it is quite possible to devolop a meaningful personal library with very few dollars. The cheapest source is to attend the fund-raising book sales. A few in the Amherst area:The IODE booksale usually held in late September in Sackville N.B.
The large Moncton sale held each May at the curling club just off George St.
The Truro sale usually held at the old Teachers’ College Campus, usually the week after the Moncton sale.
Your local library which discards books unread over a certain number of years.
Books are so marvellously undervalued in Canada that it is possible to find copies of Plato, Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Dante, Twain, Chaucer, for as little as a quarter. I can have a year’s worth of reading and a lifetime’s worth of wisdom for the cost of a movie.
A second source of books at reasonable prices is the many second hand shops. Closest to home is Amy’s Used Books next to Take Two Video. The sheer number of books in here is staggering. Mr Patriquin, the shop owner, has a list of the second hand book dealers in the Maritimes and may have copies to give out. Walter Newcombe’s stall at the Amherst Flea Market near the train station offers far fewer books, but the quality is high and the prices reasonable. Some of my favourites in other towns follow. Attic Owl in Moncton is just shy of the underpass on the way to Highfield Square. It would be hard to find a neater shop than this one replete with reading chairs, chess table, and washrooms. In Halifax the most dramatic shop is J W Doull on Barrington just before the legislature. The building is impressive and they have taken care to present the books in pleasing ways. There is a “secret” room behind a wall of books. In it is a large collection of mylar wrapped first editions for the collector with a few more dollars than the average student. Schooner Books is the original used book shop, on Inglis near Barrington (not far from the railway station or St Mary’s). It is an excellent store with reasonable prices as is Back Pages – my favorite name for a used book store (the neo-Dylan fans will recognize the allusion)- found on Queen St, just off Spring Garden Road. Happy hunting, but please don’t get in my way at the next book sale!
The Idea of Books
- W.H. Auden’s Aphorisms on Reading
- W.H. Auden’s Aphorisms on Writing
- Joseph Brodsky on Reading
- Philip Larkin on Books
- Why Read the Classics? Roger Scruton reviews books by Italo Calvino and Amos Oz which provide answers