The Aardvark Blog
Some light amongst the gloom
Some light amongst the gloom
Rarely has the news been as grim as it has been over the last week or so. We have not yet fully emerged from the nightmare of Covid 19 ( yes I know figures are better but people are still getting sick and dying), and now we have the prospect of the first warfare on European soil since the break up of Yugoslavia almost exactly 30 years ago. Heartbreaking pictures accompanied by the sounds of tearful children and bombs going off in the distance. Superb reporting by the BBC and Channel 4- amongst other news organisations - should give pause to those who seek to destroy these two essential liberal institutions ( but knowing the way things are going I doubt it). Meanwhile the only pleasure to be had from the developing charnel house has been the sight of those one-time apologists for Mr P ( and I don't mean Pernickety) suddenly falling silent.
Booksellers are born internationalists. We send out books throughout the world and have works covering every country and culture under the sun. With every state that falls to nationalism and dime store patriotism I feel a personal sense of loss.
And yet we all must carry on. For me that means going to view a house of books on Monday, and going to pick up a small van full of art books on Friday. Plus lots of positive conversations with publishers about London Bookfair. If nothing else I can promise visitors to the bookshop over the next few months a fantastic range of titles.
And whisper it quietly we have had a surprisingly good time selling books over the last few weeks. The shop has been busy and the online sales have been surprisingly perky. In the last few days alone I have sold expensive tomes on Chinese Export Porcelain, Lee Harvey Oswald and the Uffizi palace. And many more titles on every topic imaginable. After a soggy start to the half-term week last weekend ( my apologies to any who made it through the floods on Sunday when we had to close a couple of hours early), things picked up very well and the last couple of days in particular have been busy non-stop. It is nice to see so many multi-generational family groups again and to hear some laughter in the shop ( and the occasional stomp, stomp, stomp of children running upstairs).
Ethel and I have managed to list a hundred books a day for the last few days, and lots of other stock has been coming into the shop which is not going into the computer. And the wonderful cards we ordered at the Spring Fair have now almost all arrived. Two more boxes of cards are awaiting opening today and we will be shortly back to our full complement of spinners. And we have added wonderful new packs of cards from Museums and Galleries at a very reasonable price of £5.95 for eight cards and envelopes. Shortly to arrive are stocks of Toy Aardvarks from our new Aardvark supplier. And we have new Aardvark Mugs too, with a fabulous design.
People often say to me as they are leaving the shop that Aardvark is a haven of peace, quiet enjoyment and fun and I think such enclaves of joy are needed more and more these days. But I want to end on a Ukrainian note if I may.
Firstly Ethel has spent this morning finding out about the glories of Ukrainian life and culture. Some fruits of her research can be found on the Ukrainian book list she has prepared on Bookshop.org.
Secondly she tells me that the wonderful Carol of the Bells which has become so incredibly popular over the last few years is actually Ukrainian. If you want to reacquaint yourself with this beautiful tune click here.
Published by Aardvark Books Ltd on
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