I bet some of you might recognize this feeling:
"So I set off towards my local bookshop, the Borzoi, in Stow-on-the-Wold, and then I had a panic attack and found myself calling our very own literary editor, Erica Wagner: I wanted to be sure that I had the title of Bechdel's book just right. It's all very well ordering a book called The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For in London or Manchester or Paris or San Francisco, but my bookshop is full of retired gentry piling up their biographies of Churchill and taking home multiple copies of Niall Ferguson. Even as I went through the door, some chap was booming away about ordering the Schofield Bible and had they got that “Mitford thingy?”
Erica calmed me down - she is like human chicken soup - and I lurked in the poetry section until there was a lull, then I babbled my request.
No, they didn't have it in stock, but, and, what was the title again? Dykes? At that moment a dozen colonels' wives appeared at once, so quick-thinking Kevin at the counter said: “I will find that book about HOLLAND for you.”
Sure enough, a few days later, the call came, and Anthea, who runs the shop and always wears pearls, said: “Your HOLLAND books are in. We've got them under the counter for you - in a bag.”
So I went and collected my dykes, and just to save face ordered a vastly expensive print-on-demand copy of Ted Hughes's Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being. I had to do this so that I too could boom a title over the counter, instead of finding myself speaking something like French - or certainly a language where none of the words meant what I thought they meant."
Great writing by Jeanette Winterson, as always. Read the rest here.