Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Like a box of chocolates

It's always been in the nature of the work I do that bags and parcels and packages of new books have been features of the landscape. The start of a school or university year; the publisher's rep knocking at the door of one's university office; the tidal waves of books for review that crashed into the tiny office of Australian Book Review on a daily basis in 1986-87 and no doubt still do in ever-increasing numbers; the fifty or a hundred books that have been submitted for some literary prize.

And, most recently, the postbags and boxes of them that get delivered by the same bemused Australia Post driver every other week or so since I began regular weekly reviewing for the Sydney Morning Herald, for I get almost twice as many as I end up reviewing, and there's a deep, wide and well-worn path from my house to the nearest Red Cross shop, where the ladies love me to bits, not least because I never take back the sturdy re-usable shopping bags into which I have packed the books, and it doesn't take much to imagine how useful to the staff of a second-hand store a steady supply of sturdy re-usable shopping bags might be.

So you'd think I'd have got even a little bit blasée about it, after all these years. But no. The door is knocked on, the cats take fright, I paddle up the passage and open the door and there's the Australia Post man clutching another bunch of bags of books. I feel my heartbeat accelerating. I drop whatever I'm doing and tear at the tough plastic; can't wait long enough to go get the scissors. And then I lift out the books, voluptuously, one by one.

Which is the routine I followed this morning, after hearing the Australia Post guy's by-now-recognisable rattly and bad-tempered *BAM BAM BAM* on the frame of the security screen door. And here's the third book I pulled out of the bag.


Penthe said...

Oh, I am so missing the parcels. Worst thing about abandoning the life of the book for the life of the policy. I miss the books inside, too, of course, but it's the feeling of ongoing Christmas that I miss more.

Anonymous said...

How does that man do it? It seems like he has a new book on the shelves every month. His sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, stories must all hit the page perfectly formed.

And I wouldn't mind except that it's so much fun to read. You can't even console yourself with 'yes, but if I wanted to write crap I could write that much too'.

Anonymous said...

Oh, perfect solace for these days. My step-son claims that a cup of tea solves everything in time.

Zoe said...

No more schoolwork this afternoon from you, I'm guessing?

phil said...

I'm only posting a comment because the word verification is "table."

So, you belong to Mensa, I'm guessing?

phil said...

Yikes. That "I'm guessing" was veeery subliminally influenced.


there. cop that.

Anonymous said...

Where's that Red Cross shop?

*envisages lots of new release books at Red Cross shop prices*