=603= Stories to Tell: Critic

“This is the original 1973 first edition of Haley Hales’ Aural Tales” Said the excited book keeper, showing off his collection of books.

Somehow on my journey of looking for my Favourite childhood book “Survivor,” I found this shop downtown and entered it. The shop owner was this plump man that looks like he is in his fourties.

“Haha, oh wow, cool!” I tried to sound as excited as I could, “do you happen to have Tommy Sanders’ book, Survivor?”

“Tommy Sanders…. Hmm…” Said the book keeper while looking through his records of books. “I think I might have a copy, give me a few minutes”

The book keeper walked to a door behind the shelves. I started observing the room I was in. The room can only be described as rustic. Cosy and warm. It was rather nice. The shelves were inscribed with beautiful carvings. There was a chandelier hanging in the middle giving out a warm orange glow.

The book keeper walked out of the room with a book in a plastic cover. “This is the only copy I have, this is REALLY rare. Tommy Sander books are incredibly hard to find. This is not going to be cheap.”

“OH! You actually have it! How much for the book!”

“For a Tommy Sanders book in this condition, I actually paid $200 for it, I wouldn’t go any lower than $250”

“$250? Okok! Sure! Here you go!” I said while taking out my wallet and passed the money to the book keeper.

“You really want this book that much huh! HAHA! What do you do?” He said while receiving my money.

“I am a writer. Errr, actually, I am a book critic”

“A critic! Wow! Are you going to critic this classic book?” While writing a receipt for the book.

“Erm, not exactly”

“Haha, just for leisure then?”

“Hmm, this is actually my favourite book to read when I was young.”

“Oh? What happened to your copy?”

“It got burned when my house caught fire”

“WHAT! What happened?”

“Haha, it was just a cigarette accident. I fell asleep with a lit cigarette in my hand. I only woke up when I felt the heat getting rather uncomfortable. When I managed to put out the fire, a great deal of the books I enjoyed as a kid was damaged. So I was just looking to replace it.”

“Man, this book must have meant a lot to you for you to pay so much for it”

“Yeah, it really does, it was what that got me writing books.”

“You write? Which books have you written?”

“Haha, they aren’t significant and they were written long ago.”

“You don’t write anymore?”

“Yeah I don’t”

The book keeper had a puzzled look on his face and he said, “Why not?”

“Well, being a book critic, you have to be objective and pin point every single mistake or flaw made by the writer. After many years in this job, I can’t enjoy reading books anymore. Even books that I used to enjoy isn’t good anymore. Being a critic, people hold you in a higher position. I am really afraid to write anymore. It is sad isn’t it? I became a writer because I loved reading, but because of it, I can’t enjoy a single book anymore. I just want to read this book again to find my love for reading again.”

“Haha, Bro, I understand what you mean.”

“You do? What do you mean?”

“When I was a kid, I read a lot. I picked up books and I read. My friends around me will ask to borrow my books and I will be able to tell them how each book was. How good it was or what you should watch out for. As a result of this passion, I started finding rare books. It was fun. It is really so interesting to buy and sell these books; making a living out of these rare books. However, it has been years since I last read a book. I really miss the feeling of reading and knowing all the books on my shelf.”

“Haha, yeah man, goodness. At least you are enjoying the search and sales of the books. I don’t enjoy critiquing the books at all.”

“Hmm, what made you critic books in the first place?”

“I have been writing and I just wanted to try something different you see. When they offered me the chance, I took it. I realised I was good at it, but I don’t want to critic books, I want to write.”

“Bro, why are you giving up your passion for something like that then? Start writing again! Come on!”

“Critiquing books is really good money, I really don’t want to go back to those days when I scramble to even find enough money to eat.”

“You have to make a choice. Security in something you dislike or instability in something you like. You have to make a choice man. There must have been a reason why you are finding it so hard to go back.”

 Yes, I am aware, but life is really hard. I am afraid the choices I make becomes mistakes. 

Then look to God. Look to God for answers and He will be your peace and assurance.


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