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Seaching For 'The Poet' At Brand Bookshop
By Rodger Jacobs
from Glendale,CA

5/22/2004
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Some people get compulsive about the series finale of “Friends” or “Frasier”. I get compulsive
about books. It’s all relative.

The latest object of my literary obsession was Michael Connelly’s 1996 novel “The Poet”, to date
the only stand alone novel the former Los Angeles Times crime reporter has penned after a series
of best-selling thrillers starring fictional LAPD detective Hieronymous “Harry” Bosch.

There’s a decent Borders Books and Music on Brand Boulevard in Glendale, as well as new
Barnes and Noble further east on Glendale Boulevard. But the life of a freelance writer
sometimes excludes paying full cover price for books so I avoided the trendy and pricy Borders
and Barnes and Noble and headed instead to Brand Bookshop.

Pushing through the glass door of the book shop I spotted over my shoulder a very large black
man. His hefty frame practically burst through the olive-colored fatigue jacket he was wearing.
His black jeans were encrusted with stains of various sorts. His shock of scruffy black hair was
infused with a streak of silver. He was neither menacing nor inviting. He might have been one of
Glendale’s numerous homeless. He pushed through the door of the book shop right after me.

I gave a perfunctory nod to the elder shop clerk behind the counter, made a right turn after the
bins displaying vintage LPs, and headed into the long side corridor that houses the shelves
stacked floor to ceiling with used paperbacks.

The black man loitered on the main floor of the book shop.

“May I help you with something?” I heard the clerk kindly ask the man after a few moments.

I had found the Mystery section of the used paperbacks. Every damn Connelly novel was there -
all dog-eared, some in better condition than others - except the one I was looking for.

“I’m looking for a particular book,” I heard the black man huff in reply to the clerk’s offer of
assistance.

“Do you remember the name?”

“Of the book?” the black man asked. As I emerged from the used paperback vault he was
standing in the center of the room, rubbing three fingertips through the wild mane of beard
falling from his chin. “I don’t remember the name of the author or the name of the book. It was a
long, long time ago that I read it.”

The shop clerk seemed amused.

“Time sure does move fast, doesn’t it?”

I gently navigated around the black man’s impressive girth to make my way for the exit.

“Here it is, almost the end of May already,” clerk continued. “Yep, time moves fast.”

As I started out the door, I heard, over my shoulder, the black man’s terse response.

“What I think it is,” he pronounced, “I think it’s all this technology we have now making time
move faster.”

I shuffled through the door without a word or glance at either man and headed south down Brand
Boulevard. It looked like I would have to pay full cover price for ‘The Poet’ after all.

(C) Rodger Jacobs, 2004
All Rights Reserved


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