“THE GRUB” ROBERTO BOLAÑO

“I generally bought my books at the Libería de Cristal or the Libería del Sótano. If I was short of cash, I’d pick over the specials table at the Cristal, but if I was sufficiently solvent, I’d go to the Sótano for the new titles. If I had no money at all, which was often the case, I would steal from one or the other, without favoritism. But in any case, I would invariably pay a visit to both the Librería de Cristal and the Librería del Sótano (located, as the name suggests, in a basement, across from the Alameda). If I arrived before the shops opened, I’d look for a street vendor, buy myself a ham sandwich and a mango juice and wait. Sometimes I’d sit on a bench in the Alameda, tucked away in the shrubbery, and write. All this lasted until about ten in the morning, which is when the movie theaters began to open up for their first screenings. I preferred European films, though if I was feeling particularly inspired, I wasn’t averse to Mexican New Erotic or Mexican New Horror, which were pretty much the same thing, anyway.”

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