It is a Small Planet February 15 2016

Sometimes I wonder if there is a higher power.

Or maybe it is just happenstance.

But then again …


You be the judge.


Last week I was sitting in our shop in The Colony centre ...




I was not exactly sitting. I was digging into boxes of books that had just arrived.

But I digress.


In walked a man who asked if we had any of the books by Edward Packard called “Choose your own adventure”

He collects them!

Oh said I you must have read “The Boy in The Book” by Nathan Penlington.

He had never heard of it.

Can you believe it?


For the few who do not know about this book (unlikely if you have come anywhere near me)

It is the story of Nathan Penlington obsession with collecting.

See, we are not alone. I can hear the collective sigh of relief already.


Back to Mr Penlington.

He too collected “Choose Your Own Adventure” and bought a collection of these on eBay.

And so the story begins.

Penlington finds part of a diary in the collection which really distresses him and he decides to track down the original owner of the books (and of course the writer of the diary)

What follows is intriguing as we see how Penlington grows and understands more about himself as he searches for the boy in the book.


Of course the man had to have it.

Did we have a copy?

Panic! And there sitting quietly on a shelf was a copy!

Just waiting for him.


Not half an hour later in came lady who is reading only Hemingway.

Of course we chatted about the author's rather troubled private life and I asked if she had read the wonderful novel “Mrs Hemingway” by Naomi Wood.

This is the story of his four wives and how destructive every relationship was.

I had not seen a copy in a while and was busy writing down the details when I saw one on the shelf..

This was getting spooky ...


And to top it all while reading Ann Patchett's biography “This is a story of a Happy Marriage” I picked up my latest New Yorker and there was a review for the opera “Bel Canto”.

At the time I thought this was a sign that I should be comfortably sitting in a chair in New York watching an opera.

And then I realized (as if I did not know) that with a book in hand I can go anywhere.