Sorry I’ve been a bit absent on Twitter and Facebook lately, this virus has really knocked me. Progress on writing Twin Curse and editing Reckless Rebellion have been pretty slow as well, but I think I’ve turned the corner now! I’m still on track to finish my 30k goal for Camp NaNo, and have Reckless Rebellion out in September.
Today, I thought I’d talk about a different topic, books in books. I was thinking about it, and realised that in nearly every book I write, books are important to my characters. So today I’m going to share a passage about Brianna, the heroine of Twin Curse’s relationship with books.
It took Brianna a few moments to realise they had stopped walking. She looked up, and realised they were standing in front of a small shop, squeezed between two taller buildings. A wooden sign, hanging from two chains, displayed a stack of books. “Where are we?” Brianna was interested in spite of herself.
Lyall smiled, and in answer, pushed open the door. A bell tinkled somewhere within, and he guided Brianna inside.
Once her eyes became accustomed to the dim light after the bright sunshine outside, Brianna gasped. Shelves lined every wall, from floor to ceiling, and every spare inch was covered in books. They were jammed into the shelves every which way, leaving not a spare inch of room. Brianna had never seen so many books in one place.
She glanced over at Lyall, who was watching her with a smile on his face. “What is this place?” she asked.
“A bookstore,” he answered simply.
“You mean, all these books are for sale?” Brianna asked in wonder.
She had owned two books in her life. A book of stories, with real colour ink illustrations, and a book depicting the different plants and animals that grew in the area. She had thought herself rich in a town where most homes had no books. This display left her wordless.
A small bent man shuffled in from a room at the back of the store. He pushed his glasses further up on his nose, and stared at both of them.
“Hello Petar,” Lyall said.
“Lyall,” the man beamed in recognition. “It has been a long time friend.”
“It certainly has.” Lyall released her elbow to shake the man’s hand.
“I have put aside a few books I think you might be interested in,” the man offered.
“Not today,” Lyall answered, just a little too quickly. “Today, I was wondering if I could borrow your balcony?”
“My balcony?” he asked in surprise. He shoved his glasses up on his nose again, then seemed to notice Brianna for the first time. “Oh, my balcony. Of course.”
He led them through another room, full of even more books, and up a narrow, twisting stair. Obviously he lived up here, for some vestiges of comfort could be seen in an old armchair and a small table, but again, the most notable feature of the room were the shelves lined with more books than Brianna had ever imagined.
Lyall walked across the room to a pair of narrow doors and opened them ushering Brianna through. The small balcony was only just wide enough for the tiny table and two chairs. But the view was amazing. Through a small gap between two buildings, Brianna could see all the way to the harbour, and the open water of the ocean.
She sat in the seat Lyall pulled out for her, and smiled.
“Better than sitting in the inn for the next few hours?” Lyall asked.
“Much better,” Brianna agreed. “So how did you discover this place?” she asked curiously.
Lyall shrugged. “I’ve done a bit of exploring around the place. Some stores are worth coming back to more than once.”
“So I gather.” Brianna remembered something. “What sort of books does he have for you?”
“Oh, I’m interested in all kinds of old books, history, geography, that sort of thing,” Lyall said airily. “Petar keeps a few of the rarer books aside for me.”
“Rare books?” Brianna laughed. “Up until today, I thought all books were rare!”
Lyall smiled. “Not all, although I guess most are. To see a collection like Petar has is rare indeed.”
“I’m sure it is! I thought I was lucky having two books growing up, and I shared those with my sister.”
She hadn’t meant to mention Mianna, but it was done now. And the mere thought of her was enough to bring up a torrent of loneliness. She turned away, not wanting Lyall to see the tears that sprang to her eyes.
What do you think of books that mention books? Do you ever write about your characters relationship with books?