Thursday, August 02, 2012

Maigret and Hannelore Headley

I'm at my mother's this week and not reading much at all, but I did manage to duck out of a downtown shopping-for-home-decor boutique visit to check out the used bookstore down the street.

Even though I've only ever been there a couple dozen time in my lifetime, I think of Hannelore Headley's as an institution. Most of those times were 25 years ago, in my last days of high school. Conveniently located a 10-minute walk from the school I went to and beside the park, I recall stopping there while cutting calculus and on my way out for coffee. Definitely I spent more time at Hannelore's than I did money.

It's hard to describe just how jam-packed this shop is with books. Floor to ceiling, but then you start scanning a shelf, step up on a stool, and reach for something and you realize the books are shelved two, sometimes three, deep. And then you shift your foot and knock over the 3-foot-high stack that sits on the floor in front of the shelves at the end of the aisle. Those at the ends and around corners are really the only ones in danger of toppling; the rest are so tightly packed, they prop each other up. You shuffle along sideways and bump into some boxes stacked two or three high, all crammed full of more books — fresh hauls waiting to be "shelved."

I'd given up all hope of finding anything I'd had in mind when I went in — books are organized by genre and arranged vaguely alphabetically, but I believe it uses a slightly different alpahbet than the standard English, with some of the letters swapping places and a couple extra letters thrown in — when a stack fell away to reveal the stack behind it, and three Simenon novels fell into my hands, which led me to explore the shelf beside and the boxes in front, and I found three more. My haul:

The Accomplices (1955)
Maigret Goes Home (1931)
Maigret at the Crossroads (1931)
Maigreat and the Hundred Gibbets (1931)
Maigret at the Coroner's (1952)
Maigret in Vichy (1968)

I'm most excited about The Accomplices, the only non-Maigret novel of the lot, but I love the look of Maigret Goes Home. Also, it's interesting to note that three of these books were originally published in French in 1931. Three books in the same year! And that's probably not all Simenon did that year.

2 comments:

Cipriano said...

Oh, I do love this, Octopus! What a great picture, in that store. There is nothing I love more than rooting around in a really good used bookstore. This one here is jammed packed!
I'm on vacation right now and on the first day of it was asked by my hosts, "Where do I want to go?" [We were in Victoria]... I said, "I'd like to go to Russell Books" [my favorite bookstore there]. So we did.
Also went to Munro Books.

Isabella Kratynski said...

I could spend years in that shop -- my sister and my daughter had to come drag me out by the hand. (Not an original photo, btw; it's from the store's website, but it looks just like that. I stupidly left my camera behind.)

Oh, but lucky you (lucky us!). Bookstores! And vacations! They go so well together. I hope you post about your finds, Cip.