I popped into Waterstones near Gower Street today whilst I waited to meet someone.

I noticed a section that i’d never seen before, not in this particular shop or indeed any other book shop. It was entitled ‘Remainders’.

It made me inexplicably sad. It conjured in me images of the surplus fractions left over after long division. Bits no one knew what to do with. An overwhelming negative and euphemistic choice of language, a layer of subterfuge created to avoid using the more explicit ‘clearance’ or ‘sale’.

It contained cloth bound hard back special editions, long out of print. Garish and trendy reissues of authors adapted to screen, long out of favour.  Seminal genre classics, long forgotten by most. Self Help books for afflictions we’ve learned to master.

I came away with some books for my collection, only too happy to pay the small price for things i’ll cherish. Happy too, to rescue them from the slow descent of dust upon the shelves.

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