CNAche: is this really how the story ends?



CNAche: is this really how the story ends?

The bookstore chain that brightened up my book-filled childhood is in deep trouble

Sunday Times Book Editor

Whenever it is so cold, I remember my mom bundling us into her car on a Sunday after a mutton curry lunch and taking my sister, my brother and me to CNA to get books and stationery from the money we saved for doing our house chores and from the allowance we received from our aunt and uncles.

CNA was my dream place. It fostered my love for books and stationery. We got the new Mandy comic (my mom bought that as a treat for us every month), a Sweet Valley High (my sister and I would go halfsies), and I used to buy pens that wrote in four different colours all at once, pencils with trolls on them, charcoal for drawing and small, absolutely useless notepads that fit in my tiny palm. The covers of these notepads were all kitsch – flowers, cats, dogs, stars, hearts, rainbows and so on, but I loved them. We used to spend hours roaming about in that CNA. I think it was a welcome break for my mom (who could always be found at the Catherine Cookson novels), or maybe it was a chance to get us out of the house so my dad could play his Led Zeppelin or Cream at maximum levels without annoying the neighbours too much.

Afterwards we went to the nearby Florida Lake (before it became a danger zone), watched the ducks and sat in the winter sun on the benches to dive into our new books. It was our monthly ritual with my mom and something I treasure. Golden, sacred memories. ..

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