Book buying day

Today is Queens Day, our national holiday, celebrated on the birthday of late Queen Juliana.

Tonight is Queens Eve, the party preceding the holiday. Since almost everybody has the day off tomorrow, most people start celebrating now.

Tonight was whiskey tasting with friends. I did not participate; I am a whiskey layman, and I felt it would not be right to taste expensive drinks I would never pay for. The man appreciated that, and I appreciated that he appreciated that.

Still, earlier there was excellent Chinese food (Haarlem, Botermarkt, reminiscent of the Indonesian food of Don Julio’s in Amsterdam, but much, much spicier), and later there were the new Hertog Jan beers.

For me, this morning will start book buying day.

Queens Day has many facets. One of them is the ‘Free Market’. Although there is no law regulating it (as far as I know), it is common knowledge that everybody is allowed to start a flee market in the streets. And people do! The streets will be lined with junk like you wouldn’t believe.

When I was around ten years old, I wanted to participate in this orgy of selling, and some of the hapless victims of my desire were books.

I have spent around 20 years buying them back. I am not sure if I have got them all, but I have got the important ones. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that I don’t like to throw stuff out. If there’s another thing I have learned, it’s that I absolute hate to part with my books. Nowadays, I even keep the lousy ones, just on the off-chance that one of them contained something worth remembering.

Today will be fun.

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