Saturday, April 11, 2015

Remainder Me at Hay-on-Wye by Karla Stover

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Remainder Me at Hay-on-Way
     I miss book catalogues. I used to look forward to those from Barnes & Noble, Bas Bleu, and A Common Reader—especially A Common Reader. A Common Reader was in the book mail order business for twenty years—from 1986 to 2006 and introduced me to Alexander McCall Smith, among others. I saved the last one I received and, even now, find books I’d like to read. Bas Bleu published (and paid me for) a couple books reviews—books I recommended, but now I’m off that list, too. Which leaves the Edward R. Hamilton bargain books catalogue; I get my dad’s when he’s done with them.
     I go through Edward H. cover to cover and mark books to read. However, I also see patterns. For example, a lot of women write Amish fiction. I read some, but the Amish lifestyle is so restricted the stories are a bit repetitive. I also see that a number of people have hopped on the Sherlock Holmes bandwagon. Wouldn’t most authors want to create their own characters?
     After I graduated from college and all the reading I had to do for classes, I could no longer read cozies. My current two Edward H’s are full of them: Aunt Dimity, Agatha Raisen, and Laura Childs books and a few. Which offers up the question: is it better to be published but have many of your books end up with Edward H or not to have published at all? I vote for being published but I prefer to be remaindered at Hay-on-Wye.
     In 1979, the United States Supreme Court, in an unrelated case, passed a law on the adverse effects of the keeping inventories for several years. The result was that books in the United States have been remaindered much earlier and in greater quantities than prior to the decision.
     Hay-on-Wye, or “Hay” to those who love it, is in Powys, Wales, close to the English border. Often described as "the town of books", the little market town, with a population of 1,900 has 23 bookstores, sometimes more. In 1961 Richard Booth opened Hay’s first secondhand bookshop in the town’s old fire station. Four years later he bought the local movie house and turned it into a bookshop, too.  They gave birth to the official town of books. (Kindles are banned).
    So, if my books have to be remaindered someday, well, let it be in Hay-on-Wye. Since I have some Welsh blood in me, they’ll be right at home.