There is a man staring at me.

He is standing in front of the till staring.

Can I help you? I ask him.

He shakes his head and stares.

You've been here a long time? he says.

Yes, I say.

I was just remembering, he says, I used to come in here and buy my Goosebump books.

You did? I say.

I did, he says, and you were here then too.

I was, I say.

And that, he says, was a long time ago.


There is a man at the counter buying a card.

He sighs.

I acknowledge his sigh.

I'm reading The Dying Animal by Philip Roth, he says and sighs again.

I nod.

Have you read it? he asks.

I picture the naked woman, a Modigliani, on the cover. I have tried to, I tell him, twice.

He sighs again and shakes his head.

It's know? he says.

I know, I say.

He pays for his card.

I mean, at my age, he says.

He shakes his head again.

We leave it there.

Almost out of here.

Kudos though, to the woman who phoned this morning to find out what time we closed this evening.

When we told her five o'clock, she said indignantly, But on your website it says you are open until SEVEN on a Tuesday!

Happy Christmas to the rest of you.

This man is pleading with me.

He looks around the shop.

You got a reindeer, he says.

I shake my head, No, no reindeers, I say.

He looks confused.

Are you sure? he says.

A little cuddly reindeer? he says.

No reindeers, I say.

He puts his head in his hands. I don't know what she's telling me, he says.

No reindeer? he says.

None, I say.

She's going to kill me, he says.

The greatest novel you've not never read.

At least not if you are a customer of The Bookseller Crow.

A year ago to the day we voted Stoner our book of the year.

You might have heard me mention it from time to time.

A year later Waterstones have voted it theirs.

Do keep up chaps.

Later in the week we will tell you what our novel of the year is for his year, which should give Waterstones plenty of time to get some stock in and some stickers printed for next December.