To Die For: The Confession of a Bookshop Owner
Stories from the Bookshop
To Die For
The Confession of a Bookshop Owner
Tonight is a Friday night. The bookshop is quiet. Wine bottles are uncorked, and friends have gathered in the seating areas to ride a wave of good company into the weekend. The conversation takes intriguing dips and spinning turns, leaving us cross-eyed in laughter. As I like to say, “You never know what’s going to happen in the bookshop.” I will add that; likewise, you never know where the conversation will go.
This blog is to share stories of human connections witnessed and experienced in the sacred space of Wild Lark Books. However. On this Friday evening, a haunting tale spun around us while musing the endearing insanities of book-lovers. Thus, I give this conjuring of imagination instead of a thoughtful tale.
Frequent visitors of bookshops can attest to the innumerable odd occurrences experienced within these quaint places of endless pages. Suddenly a book topples, or a cold draft wafts over you. Secret doors in back rooms swing open with a casual beaconing. But, surely, it’s just from an imbalance in the hinges. Or the shop cat goes scampering after something that was most likely a shadow.
I believe we have grown so used to these things happening that they are easily written off as casual, expected things, but there is a more profound truth to be told, which I am compelled to tell you!
As a bookshop owner, I must officially ask you to release the logical explanations your sanity assigns to those very usual-but-quite-unusual encounters one only seems to have in a bookshop. I can no longer keep this secret from you, my dear book-lovers because your most fearful assumptions are correct. Bookshops are, indeed, haunted. Each of them. All of them. Even the little bookshop on Broadway.
My admission doesn’t end there. If only the spirits lilting around were ones like Friendly George or Silly Bill making pranks and having fun – but no. These poor souls are spirits haunted by the one thing that haunts all book-lovers the most. You see, the truth of it is, a book-lover often passes without any unfinished business anchoring them to this world. Book-lovers find great pleasure in bookends, completed story arcs, and happily-ever-afters, so their lives tend to reflect those same pleasures. But there is one immense burden every book-lover shares: our never-ending To-Be-Read list.
Book curators taunt you with the promise of relaxing afternoons filled with adventurous musings, but curators know the dark secret we keep. We all know we are tempting souls into adding another book to the pile, or two, or three! – inevitably leading to another poor soul left to wander beyond the veil in the bookshop until their TBR list is finally complete. Oh! But can’t you see? The most torturous truth is that haunting a bookshop with an unfinished TBR means your temptation never ends. There are always new books to be added, even in the afterlife.
So, the next time your skin prickles from a suspected presence, or the light flickers just slightly in that back corner of the dustiest section of your local bookshop… Think of the poor soul looking over your shoulder and tsk-tsk-ing into the ethers beside you as they whisper, “Add it to your TBR. Really though, it’s worth it.”