I started a new job last week in a suburb called Nunawading and came across this little piece of Nunawading that elicited both promise and despair — McLeods Books.
I stepped out of the railway station, and this little gem stared at me from across Station Street, beckoning like a houri to the afterlife (non-conglomerated bookstores tend to affect me that way).
The display window should have given me a hint, but I thought the owner may just be creativity impaired.(If you’re any kind of bibliophile like I am, the following images can be very disturbing.)
No premonition from that whatsoever, but I walked in. Assailed by the scent of old paper and ink, I was speechless from the sight.
There was no order, no rhyme or reason to how the books had been shelved. Dostoevsky sat next to Nora Roberts. Historical tomes were piled next to a shelf of erotica. Books tumbled like the Tower of Babel felled by a mysterious wind.
And then the clincher — an old man, ancient as the Diamond Sutra, and no doubt the owner of the shop, sitting on a creaking chair at a creepy nook amidst this sea of books doing what? No prizes for guessing — WATCHING AFTERNOON TELEVISION. 😐
Oh, I could have cried then.
Instead I disappear to some other obscure cranny to click these pictures.
On my way out, I notice a sign by the door stating “We are not buying any more books unless a sale of $10 or more”. There’s a good sales tactic.
I wondered if I could ask him to hire me to revamp McLeods. I’d take crappy pay and overtime work hours for that job any day.