Then a random thought came into my head this morning. Where did I even buy this book from? It's not something I'd have picked up at a train station. It's been on my bookshelf on a to-be-read pile for ages. (I've started keeping a to-be-read pile. My mum does it. It helps me think, as I grow older, I'm not completely turning into my dad.) Then I remembered - Daunt Books on Haverstock Hill or West End Lane Books in West Hampstead. One of them. And I glanced at my bookshelves and realised something: I need to find a bookshop to haunt in Cardiff. Because every time I've had a reaction to a book like this, I've always bought it from a small shop. And I've never known about the book or expected to see it or read a review beforehand.
There's something about small bookshops that makes books feel magical again; the same feeling I had as a child popping into my local library each week to swap a Miffy book for a Topsy and Tim. There's a book smell, a sense of possibility. I never have this experience in Waterstone's (I'm keeping the apostrophe in as a protest). Blackwell's in Oxford I've a soft spot for, but I really couldn't stomach Heffers when we lived in Cambridge. Foyles on Charing Cross Road I can live with, but how amazing would it be if number 84 still existed? And then I thought - why don't more small British bookshops have resident cats? On holiday in France and the States, I've often bought a book I adored because a cat was sitting on it. I'm sure cats have an instinct for good literature.
So not only do I now have enthusiasm for Frankl, but I also have a ridiculous amount of gratitude to the people who run these small places in the face of hefty competition from Amazon and the like. They don't have terrifying assistants; they don't stock celebrity biographies. But they do have impeccable taste in what they lay out on tables, something the internet can't match. I need to buy more books from them. I'm going to no longer make Amazon my first port of call.