FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS          - 18/10/2010      <--Prev : Next-->

Those with a love for books will always remember the Christian Vigne Bookshop and library in Bulawayo. The new Vigne Bookshop is in Fife Street and 13th Ave and the old one was in Fife Street, I think, but I stand to be corrected, where Brooks Fabrics (now Chippys) used to be.

Oh how well I remember the smell of that place. The divine smell of old books mingled with the fragrance of fresh percolated coffee ..

I can still smell it today when I pick up and old book.

The books were carefully covered in plastic and as time wore on and books became harder to come by, they would be pretty old and frail but still as delectable.

For a paltry sum of a few pence one could borrow a book for a week or two and life was never dull. No telly in those days, no computers, no DVDs, just a book and a spare afternoon from school, or by torchlight under the bed clothes when Mother had turned off the lights !!

The new books were hired out at slightly more than the old ones, and you could take them for less time, but they had every single book a girl or boy could possibly wish for. All the Enid Blytons - the Adventure series, the Secret Seven Series, the Famous Five Series, The Hardy Boys , Just William and the Nancy Drews... ooohhhh drool !!

How well I remember the River of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure and the Valley of Adventure. In those very books our love for excitement, adventure, outdoors, justice and freedom were born. Thank goodness Mother firmly persuaded us to avoid the Mills and Boon section !!

As we grew older Christian Vigne was still there, as we grew past the Blytons and grew into the Barbara Cartlands, the Arthur Haileys, the Barbara Taylor Bradfords, Irving Wallace, Robert Ludlum and Wilbur Smith. As time passed and the love of reading remained even with the advent of the electronic age we read avidly the Jonathan Kellermans and Patricia Cornwells.

One could browse for hours seeking a favourite book, sip on a delicious cup of coffee and tuck into a giant piece of chocolate cake, curl up on an armchair and read, and life was blissful in the extreme.

We have a vast library at home, jammed full of every conceivable type of book. HeeHoo's tastes are more eclectic than mine, as a child he read Gerald Durrell instead of Enid Blyton and these days he reads very odd books such as those tomes about William Churchill by William Manchester, and scary books by Phillip Gourevitch.

Sadly today things have changed in the Kriel household and books are a thing of the past.

HeeHoo being the gadget king, now reads on his Kindle or his i pad and insists that I do the same, but somehow those new fangled toys of his just don't smell the same as those ancient old books from the Christian Vigne Library !!

Jill and Brian Tiller took over the Christian Vigne library some years ago, now called simple Vigne Bookshop, they moved down further along Fife Street, but they are still there, still with that lovely "old bookish" smell and still looking after all your library and stationary needs !!