So in the latest round of KL bookshop snakes and ladders, who's on the way up and who's coming down?
MPH for sure climbs up a fireman's ladder for arranging events for Tash Aw this weekend - a dialogue at the Writer's Circle, two booksignings and a private gathering tomorrow. (Am dying to tell you all about it - have sheaves and sheaves of notes - but have to get my article out first. And yes, I am still alive and totally totally charmed by young Tash.)
Silverfish also climbs a ladder. Although Tash's reading there was hastily arranged, a good crowd came and crammed into the tiny bookshop, and many of them had read the book so asked thoughtful questions. The Chilean wine was good, and there was a wonderful relaxed atmosphere.
MPH slips down a few rungs for not bringing in hardback copies of the book. Honestly! Why didn't they realise that we'd be flocking to get our books signed for posterity?
Borders (which slid right down the biggest blackest snake the other day telling me that it would take 6-8 weeks to get Edward Carey's books which the other bookshops could obtain in half the time) now redeems itself by having anticipated the desire for hardback copies of The Harmony Silk Factory.
Silverfish goes up another ladder because it can get me Edward Carey's books within a fortnight. They have a good relationship with the local supplier, apparently. Responsive, personal service wins the day.
MPH goes up a rung for having a counter selling delicious chocolates and sweets which you can munch as you browse. I laid waste to a bag of sugared almonds while browsing the shelves. (Laid waist to my waistline?)
But I'll make them descend a rung (spiteful, aren't I?) for shelving a novel by Will Self in the psychology section. I guess someone just saw "Self" on the spine and decided it belonged with Freud.
Incidentally, the funniest misshelving of books occurred in Times, Bangsar Shopping Complex a couple of years ago. I found a whole pile of Peter Carey's The True History of the Kelly Gang in the non-fiction section. I went up to the counter to point out that the book was fiction and should be shelved with the novels. The staff there argued that it must be non-fiction because the title said "True History" and refused to move the copies.
I felt so sad for Peter Carey because his books couldn't be selling. When the staff had their backs turned, I picked up the books and transferred them to their rightful place among the fiction.
The next time I went into the store, the books were back in non-fiction. And once again I moved them.
In the end they left the books where I had placed them. Maybe the staff thought there were ghosts around?