The Book Ship


The book ship is moored at the wharf. She is dwarfed by the luxury liner cruise ships. She is a battered old, beat-up relic of a ship. Her predecessor, Logos I sank and this is Logos II. She has sailed around the world, pulling into ports selling books. She is crewed by an international crew of volunteers.

In this island paradise, books are expensive because of the import duties and stamp tax on them. Books are not as ubiquitous here as they are in North America. There is a real hunger for books. The Lovely One and I decided to check out the ship.

We were met at the gangplank by a Norwegian young man. He was charging fifty cents admission to the ship. I handed him a twenty dollar bill, and as I was waiting for the $19 in change, I caught the pungent aroma of him being a little ripe and in need of a shower.

The gangplank was steep, and didn't have real steps -- just these rubber covered bars all the way up. A Dutchman, another volunteer on the ship was leading the geezers down the gangplank. He had an odiferous aura as well.

The Lovely One and I finally got aboard by climbing the gangplank. We climbed a narrow flight of steel deck stairs to an upper deck, and came upon the bookstore. I went with the intention of looking for a book of yoga. I want to do exercises for both my back, and my mind. What we failed to realise, was that Logos II was a predominantly Christian floating bookstore.

There were piles and piles of childrens Christian books, bibles, and tomes on how to live a proper lifestyle. There were other books, like stargazing manuals, dictionaries, extreme machine expositors and the like. However nothing really caught our interests until we came to the cookbook section.

I chose an amazing cookbook on Indian cuisine -- a huge tome replete with pictures and every kind of Indian food recipes from all of the provinces of India. It was a steal at about $10. The Lovely One got another cookbook for $9 and we headed down the exit stairway.

This took us to the lower deck, and it was populated with boxes and boxes of all kinds of inexpensive books that were being given away for donations. Essentially you bought a cloth bag for $8.00 and you put books in it. The discount books were not the Christian books but real useful ones.

The titles that I got were "50 Fast Digital Video Techniques" complete with a CD ROM of software; "PhotoShop Elements 2"; "The Low Carb Baking and Dessert Cookbook"; a huge tome on "Secure PHP Development" with a CD ROM software with 50 applications including an intranet; "J2EE 1.4 Essentials" and the Redhat Linux Bible including software -- all for $16.

However, in spite of the joy of having reading material, it is not all coming up roses. Quite the opposite. The cloth bags, and even the books themselves emanate an odour. It is a nutty odour and smells a bit like hazelnut dirty sox. It is a strange smell -- disturbing because of its pungence and yet ambiguity. You cannot place the smell. I am hoping that it is old ship smell, and it wears off. The pleasure of having reading material outweighs the olfactory cloud surrounding these books. And after a while, you don't smell it anymore.

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