The Brewed Boy book exchange is like one of those time-lapse films of a shifting tide or a setting sun. The books shuffle about on the shelf behind the machine – covers familliar, welcoming me every morning when I open. The falling shutter of the camera turning my barista moves into a series of staccato karate chops. Then for some god-known reason someone decides they want to read Betty Burton’s ‘Women of no Account’ and in a blink of an eye the line-up has changed.
Sometimes there is a drought or a literary famine spanning days that feel like years. Gammy-legged books become stained with coffee and flys buzz around their dog-eared corners. But then the monsoon comes – usually a SoHo resident moving to Russia or something – and books begin to rain down on the van. The books look plumper somehow, the covers more vivid – I start salivating and running my tongue over my inciser.
There aren’t any rules here but if you try and swap a Dan Brown for an Ian McEwan or a Cormac McCarthy I’ll be secretly judging you just like when I recommend ‘On Chesil Beach’ and the reader comes back with a pained grimace and stops buying coffee.