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Up Close And Personal With A Good Book


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From Our Book Correspondent Slyt-Lee Fogged

Last Thursday marked the annual celebration of the printed word known throughout the civilized world as Dorset Book Day - a day when all those who still know what a book is celebrate this near-miracle of paper engineering; a complex system of cuts, folds, hinges, spines and boards (be they soft or hard) that has fascinated and informed the learned ever since the Egyptians discovered papyrus and the medieval residents of Shitterton pulverised their "past its best" underwear into a primitive flattened pulp.

Amongst the now very tiny proportion of the general population classed as literate, books remain a popular form of diversion, entertainment and instruction. Even amongst those who struggle to appreciate them or to master their proper use [eg anyone graduating from the University of Afpuddle after 2006 and especially since online learning became the required modus operandi] they continue to have a residual function as door stops, wonky furniture props or weighty compressors useful, for example, in conforming to a bowl an otherwise over-expansive bread and butter pudding [see Professor Brian Thrupiece "1001 Uses for a Book Never Foreseen By Their Authors" [The Threadbone Press 2002]].

In recent years, Dorset Book Day has become something of an anachronism - a hangover from a bygone age when the ability to read a sentence without resort to a finger or vocal expression could be taken for granted - but no more so than the emporia which once used to stock and sell books to the general public. Most such establishments have long disappeared as social progress has rendered them redundant and many former High Street outlets have been up-cycled, now offering instead anything from artisanal coffee and women’s designer clothes to artisanal coffee and women’s designer clothes

However in one corner of Herston, a small family run emporium hangs on by a tenuous fingernail, bucking the trend of online shopping [yes we are looking at you orinoco], massive discounting and so-called ebook editions* and surviving by virtue of its highly personalised service.

*ebooks are digital reproductions of books heavily disguised as war-games and designed to be played on a tablet or laptop computer [Ed]

Specialist bookstore owner Belarus-born former Stringbonefellows club manager Drusilla Parker-Knowles (née Likhtarovich) is not entirely sure why her establishment has bucked the trend and continues to attract the curious long after other bookstores have closed.

Asked to pinpoint the reason for its survival in an age of High Street decline, owner Belarus-born, and former Stringbonefellows club manager Drusilla Parker-Knowles (née Likhtarovich) offers several possibilities. "Maybe it is because people yearn for old-fashioned books and old-fashioned service like it used to be in Belarus*", she suggests, "or maybe because we also offer one-stop service with women's designer clothes and artisanal coffee also, or maybe secret is friendly service offered by staff. All my girls have background in satisfying customers from previous jobs and so fit in quite well with shop policy of topless advisor. I think people come in to browse advisors then books and then maybe take one of them home?

* and still is [Ed]

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