My heart be still.
Paul Wheeldon, owner of the straightforwardly named Paul Wheeldon Secondhand Books, brought a bit of England into my life when he opened his shop in my neighborhood.
What a perfect place to have a bookish chat on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
I discovered that Paul is originally from Harlow New Town, Essex, which is about 25 miles northeast of London. He met his American wife, Sara, in London. She worked in a secondhand book store on Gloucester Road in a building that now houses Slightly Foxed new and used books. Both bibliophiles, they had a book business of their own going - selling online and to bookstores.
They moved to Louisville five years ago. Paul first opened the store in a space he shared with an art gallery. He recently relocated to a spot just a half mile from me in a building he shares with a record store in the front and a vintage shop upstairs.
"I like to think I am a Penguin specialist," he says. "I always look for the orange stripe."
And it's not everywhere that one will find a book featuring Rowing Blazers and boxes full of Tatler and British Vogue magazines.
He only occasionally orders or sells online, he says, preferring to do business face to face.
I was living in London and had gone to Norwich on a book buy. I picked up a prayer book and the inscription read:
Thinking of you.
Kingsmoor House, a small country manor, was five minutes from my home in Essex. I have visited the house. This book now rests permanently on my nightstand.
A more recent find was a first edition copy of The History of Mr. Polly by H.G.Wells from 1910. Although not a particularly popular or valuable book, I knew right away that I had to have it in my personal collection.
What do you like to read?
Bad science fiction. I am particularly fond of the War Hammer series. There are lots and lots of them written by different authors. They are very predictable: the good guys face adversity, they get a beating, and then they come back and win.
I especially like Sherlock Holmes. To me, Jeremy Brett was the best portrayer of the detective. The man lived it. I also like the Inspector Maigret series by Georges Simenon. The most recent one I read was At the Crossroads. I love that time period and I think they are sexy mysteries. I don't know how he does that.
Oh, yes. I am destined to spend much time browsing and buying at Paul's bookshop. I am invited to come in anytime for a spot of tea. Aren't I lucky to have this little patch of literary Britain so close by!
You can see more of Paul and his bookshop here.