When I was young, if I was reading and came across a word that I didn’t understand, I’d ask my mum what it meant. She’d say, “do you want the long or the short version?” The short version would be a pithy, maximum-three-sentences definition of the word. The long version would be a substantial monologue that delved into etymology, literary uses and an array of example phrases. I always asked for the shorter definition – quick and painless – but usually got the lengthier explanation anyway. In honour of this tradition, I shall offer you the short and long explanations of who I am and what this blog is about. Take your pick and enjoy!
The short version:
Hi, I’m Lucy. I’m a bookseller, and you can often catch me reading on the sly among the bookshelves at work. (We all do it, you know.) This means I get about three minutes of quality reading done over the course of a working day.
Here’s a quick idea of what I like to read…
…and there’s loads more on my shelves at Goodreads!
The long version:
Hi, I’m Lucy.
I sell books. I also read them.
Why The Sly Reader, you may ask? It’s because, like all booksellers, I’m a terrible employee by default. I just can’t help but sneak a peak into all those books. This is how I’ve ended up living with more paperbacks, tomes and monographs than there is floorspace in my flat.
Career-wise, I’ve been in and out of bookshops since my first Saturday job at Ottakars, way back in 2004. Working in a bookshop as a teenager is an amazing thing; my literary absortion rate – already high thanks to my bibliophile parents – skyrocketed. I wasn’t just reading Pratchett, Hodgson Burnett, Townsend and Tolkien anymore. I was discovering those authors who somehow move you that tiny bit closer to the fully fledged, typically misshapen adult you’re inevitably becoming. McEwan, Salinger, Willy Russell, Yan Martel, T S Eliot, Dostoyevsky, Pullman, Golding, Orwell, Ishiguro, the Bronte’s; they all made an appearance during my adolescent working hours. Now you’re much more likely to spy me reading some Hilary Mantel and Ursula K Le Guin, or Jung Chang and Martin Gayford. Maybe some Robin Hobb and Tessa Hadley. What hasn’t changed, however, is that my choice of book is still determined by the boxes I open, the covers I glimpse, and the people I encounter at work.
This blog is about all of these books. It’s about my life with them at work and at home, and what they mean to me and the people I know.