One afternoon in 1992 Chengdu lay in the burning sun. I was walking idly at a free market nearby. There the salesmen, shopkeepers were speaking in high and rhythmical tones; and overwhelmed by the heated atmosphere, the buyers seemed to be never satisfied with their temporary bargains. It was extremely noisy and stuffy.
Heading along the throng of people entering and leaving the market, I , suddenly, was attracted by a tiny bookstand, which was merely a large piece of plastic film spread flat with various books on it. To my surprise, there lay a set of Lu Xun’s novels, which I was anxious to get but was financially embarrassed for its soar price in regular bookstores.
“How much do these books cost?” asked I hopefully.
Stood up the owner, who was in about his thirties, with glossily middle-parted hair and heavy eye-glasses invalided with gold, wearing western dress and leather shoes, and his eyes were piercing that looked a little greedy.
“On sale, 50% off!” I couldn’t believe my ears! He grinned triumphly, as if he had seen through me. Of curiosity I asked about the sale.
“I got many books but I have no time to read over them all. Now I deal with them in order to get my money back.” Is it a promising way to ear money! No more had been asked.
Opening the door page of one book, I saw his conspicuous handwriting which says ” Brought in 1988, Chengdu.” Only four years passed, and these books turned out waste; perhaps this was what we called Knowledge Explosion.
Gazing at my countenance he felt confused and made a dry cough, thinking I would not be contented with the price. He became somewhat impatient, pushing his glasses and muttering in a risen tune. “Hey, no doubt my books are really worth keeping.” I just nodded.
Gradually any passersby stopped to have a look here. A gray-haired man with presbyopic glasses, showed tremendous interest in Holmes, just like reading divine Bible, regardless his stick left aside. A modern fellow with a cigarette dangling from his lips seemed to be absorbed just in the front cover of a ladies’ magazine. He laughed secretly now and then, face shaped like a ball, satisfied to the utmost; even as the cigarette burned out a half, he forgot tossing. The owner was on nerve, stretching his neck as a duck does and seeing if his belongings might have been stolen. I bought five books at one setting, which just took me 10RMB ─ a good bargain indeed. But I felt somewhat sad. Many people mercilessly deserted the books that once they considered as life.
I turned back, walked silently and opened one book but couldn’t understand a single word. As I would like to say, ” Cherish your books. It is for you and for me!”
Del.icio.us : books, life, nostalgia
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