Memory penetrates the fog of time

One evening during the Spring Festival, my wife and I went to Heping Road to hang out.

In this city, Heping Road was once the leading bustling and bustling city. There are endless people visiting Heping Road on weekdays, and around the Spring Festival, the crowds are even more crowded, and it can be said that it is very lively. But with the rise of other new commercial districts in the city and the popularity of online shopping, the former prosperity of Heping Road is no longer there.

At this moment, the night fell, and although the neon lights gradually began to flicker, there were few pedestrians. My wife and I were walking down this street and suddenly felt a little deserted.

I just wanted to see the Xinhua Bookstore on this street.

At that time, the publishing house I worked for lived in a small western-style building with a sense of age. Although it has been eroded by the years, it still has a charm. Perhaps because the office space was too cramped, the unit moved to a decent publishing building a few years later. The office conditions have improved, and it is not far from this bookstore. One year, the club arranged for young editors to conduct social practice, and one of the activities was to contact readers in bookstores to conduct research. The reason for this is that on the one hand, editors can experience the actual situation of book sales, and on the other hand, they can open their minds to explore topics from the book market. I was on the second floor of this bookstore and stood at the counter for a week.

Back then, the two-story Xinhua Bookstore was quite famous, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the flagship store of all bookstores in the city. This nearly 100-year-old building became the store of Xinhua Bookstore in early 1949. In fact, on Heping Road and the adjacent streets, there are children’s bookstores, science and technology bookstores, ancient books bookstores and Binjiang Road foreign language bookstores, and the most popular is this comprehensive bookstore. Especially on weekends, the bookstore is crowded with people reading and choosing books. You are next to me, and I squeeze you. Everyone’s face is full of desire to read. The line of people queuing up to pay the bills, overflowing with the joy of buying their favorite books, has become a common sight along the winding stairs from the first floor to the second floor. This bookstore carries many people’s sweet memories of the past years, as well as the aftertaste of the fragrance of books!

As I got closer, I could see the outline of the bookstore from a distance. When I got closer, I was a little surprised by what I saw. The entire building of the bookstore is supported by criss-crossing scaffolding, and the building is surrounded by light green engineering curtains, which are not fastened and flutter in the wind. Several huge windows on the two floors have been removed. The dark, pupilless eyes can see that the building is empty. One of the wall tiles on the eaves of the building has fallen off, and the big characters “Xinhua Bookstore” in gold on the red bottom above the lintel are still inlaid on the wall. Judging from the situation, it seems that construction will start after the year. I don’t know if this bookstore is being renovated or used for other purposes. The Xinhua Bookstore, which used to be an iconic building, was a bit shabby when it squatted in the surrounding high-rise buildings, and the sight of the naked building in front of me made me feel a bit desolate and somewhat precarious.

I have always been puzzled. Many of the facades of the Xinhua Bookstore in those days were all located in the downtown area of ​​the prosperous part of the city. That’s an inch of land! It was not until later that I chatted with some old editors in the club and came into contact with some relevant materials, which solved my many years of confusion.

On January 15, 1949, the city had just been liberated. Accompanied by the rumbling of cannons and the smoke of war, the North China Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China sent from Xinhua Bookstores in North China, Jinchaji, Jizhong and South Hebei, and the Northeast Bureau from the Northeast Bookstores. From the branch, dozens of cadres were dispatched and assembled in Shengfang Ancient Town, which is more than 50 kilometers away from the city. After they completed the training together with many cadres who took over, they entered this important northern town waiting to be rebuilt together with the North China Field Army and the Northeast Field Army. At that time, the Military Control Commission decided that, as the most important position for cultural propaganda, Xinhua Bookstore had the right to choose the shops in the bustling streets. At that time, Roosevelt Road was today’s Heping Road, and General Foch Road was today’s Binjiang Road. There were many old newspaper offices, old bookstores, old cultural clubs, etc., which naturally became the targets of takeover. The cadres of the North China Bureau took over the former sites of the China Cultural Service Office, the New Times Office, the Independent Publishing House, the Commerce Daily Office and the Industrial and Commercial Daily Office in the former Kuomintang-controlled area, and began to prepare for the construction of the Xinhua Bookstore; The Bank of North Korea, which later became the building of the former branch of the Chinese Farmers Bank of the Kuomintang, also began to prepare for the construction of Xinhua Bookstore. That bank building is the Xinhua Bookstore where I once stood at the counter. It is conceivable that these bookstores played a pivotal role in disseminating new ideas, popularizing citizens’ cultural knowledge, improving national quality, and showing the cultural features of a city. It was a beautiful landscape in the city. ! The vicissitudes of life, the battle changes. Most of these bookstores, which were once glorious and crowded with people, are now in ruins, which makes people sigh! Thinking of this, I can’t help but feel a little sad and leave.

More than half a year has passed, and I have been thinking about the bookstore in the scaffolding. I couldn’t help it, so I called a friend in the management department of the publishing group and wanted to ask some information. After listening to the friend, he smiled and said that it was probably the most difficult before breaking out of the cocoon and rebirth. That’s probably what you saw at the time. Check it out when you have time, it might bring you some surprises. Oh? When he said that, I was a little relieved. He went on to say that the bookstore has been redecorated and has a new look. Although a lot of fashion elements have been added, it still retains some traces of the old days, so you can look for books again!

Autumn has just arrived, and it has been drizzling for a few days. At the beginning of the rain, the blue sky is surrounded by clouds, and it is as clear as washing, which is fascinating. Today is a good day, why not visit that bookstore with some suspense?

raw edge book

Saw a joke online. The child asked the mother: Why do you want to study? Mom didn’t answer, but took him to tea. My mother said that when you read a book and drink tea, you will say, this tea is orange-red and translucent, with a delicate and fragrant smell, full and pure taste, and a round mouth like poetry; the aroma of zhilan is refreshing, the aftertaste is sweet, and the lips and teeth are fragrant; Fragrant like orchid osmanthus, taste like sweet rain, it is really the best tea! If you don’t read, you’ll just say, wow, this tea is delicious!

Of course it’s a joke, but at least it shows some kind of mystery about reading. The fact is that more and more people around them are looking at their mobile phones, and it seems that fewer and fewer people are reading books. It’s not that you can’t read mobile phones, and some people still like to read on mobile phones; but in terms of personal experience, e-reading does not seem to be very real about the content, and the engraving in the mind is also shallow. Maybe it’s because of my old concept, in today’s electronic surging, I still like to read the paper books.

A friend gave me a rough-edged book, which needs to be read more carefully.

The so-called raw edge book means that the book is not cut after binding, and the pages are connected with each other. When reading, it needs to be cut page by page with a book knife. Raw edge books were all the rage in the early 20th century, but they are rarely published today. Tracing back to its origins, Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren co-published The Collection of Novels from Outside the Territories in 1909, which should be China’s first rough-edged book. This book is divided into two volumes. In the history of modern Chinese literature, this is also the first book in the form of a collection to translate short stories from many countries and writers. Unfortunately, it didn’t sell well after publication, and the planned third volume “had to stop” and shelved it.

According to “Lu Xun’s Memories” (originally titled “Lu Xun’s Memories Fragments”) written by Lu Xun’s “old student” Jing Youlin, in Beixin Bookstore, Lu Xun once asked him to print books with raw edges. It is estimated that the Collection of Foreign Novels sold on consignment at the Guangchang Long Silk Village in Shanghai is no exception. In Lu Xun’s opinion, a book is only aesthetically pleasing by “letting the three sides be as they are and not cutting them with a knife”; but such a book does not sell well in Beixin Bookstore. The founder of Beixin Publishing House, Li Xiaofeng, was a student of Lu Xun when he was teaching at Peking University, and he was also the main publisher of Lu Xun’s works. He published nearly 40 kinds of Lu Xun’s works. accounted for six. Even so, he had a hard time hiding the raw-edge books that Mr. Da asked for. When answering the question from the husband, he said: “When the bookbinding started, I sold the raw-edged ones for sale, but no one bought them. I had to be taught (called) to have the edges before I wanted them. I saw no way, so I simply did everything After getting Mr. Lu Xun’s clear objection, he had to adapt to the situation and sent him a book with raw edges.

The sales of “Outer Territory Fiction Collection” was not good. It was definitely not because of the “rough edge”, nor because Lu Xun attributed it to readers who were not accustomed to reading short stories at that time: “At that time, there were still very few short stories, and readers were used to reading one or two hundred chapters. The chapters are in the style, so short stories are nothing.” The objective reason is that, as far as themes are concerned, the popular reading interests at that time were still mainly detective novels, social novels and romance novels, while the “Consciousness of Suffering” advanced in “The Collection of Foreign Novels”” The pain at the bottom, and the bleak spirit” and other ideological pursuits, I am afraid that it does not match the reading needs and tastes of readers. There is another reason, which may be related to the fact that the book was sold in “Silk Village” instead of bookstores and bookstores. I humbly think that the rough book design of this book is not the main reason for its poor sales.

Lu Xun had a special liking for books with rough edges, and it was not unrelated to the binding art of Western books in Japan, where the west wind was spreading to the east. Since the 1920s, raw edge books have become popular. According to records, in addition to the Zhou brothers, Yu Dafu, Guo Moruo, Zhang Ziping, Lin Yutang, Bing Xin, Su Xuelin, Xie Bingying, Shi Zhecun and many other famous writers in new literature have all published rough editions. As a kind of book style, the publication of raw edge books is almost annihilated today, and it is a bit of joy to suddenly have one on hand.

I read this rough book from a friend for half a month. One is that he likes the content of the book, so he can read it slowly; the other is that he has to read the rough-edged book, and he has to read while cutting, and he can’t be fast if he wants to. This becomes a veritable “slow reading”. The book knife swiped, “hissing” into the ear, the raw edges are velvety, and the clues are gradually revealed; accompanied by clear tea, the pages are full of scrolls, the universe is inside, and the Range Rover is familiar. In addition to releasing the volume, I couldn’t help feeling a lot about the content of the book, and I also recorded one or two reading experiences, which can be said to be an unexpected gain.

Read slowly to really read.

poet in the market

Zhongshan Road Vegetable Market, of course, got its name because it is adjacent to the nearby Zhongshan Park. In August 1912, Mr. Sun Yat-sen went north at the invitation of Yuan Shikai to discuss the country together. He visited the city and attended a welcome meeting for officials and gentry in this park, and also delivered an impromptu speech. At that time, the private garden “Siyuan Village” built by a descendant of a salt merchant surnamed Zhang during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty had been transformed into a public garden open to the public, called “Quanye Conference Hall”. In 1928, the Northern Expedition was won. In order to commemorate Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s northbound trip, the park was renamed Zhongshan Park, and the Dajing Road in front of the park was also changed to Zhongshan Road. Hence the name Zhongshan Road Vegetable Market.

In a historical park, the nearby vegetable market is also lively and bustling all day, with people coming and going. I heard from the uncles and aunts of the neighbors that the Zhongshan Road vegetable market not only has a wide variety of vegetables, but also fresh and cheap. After several attempts, the wife believes that this statement is true. Every time I buy food, I go to this vegetable market, although it takes five or six minutes to drive each time.

The Zhongshan Road vegetable market is huge, and you can’t see the end from the door. The main area is the vegetable area and the fruit area, which are the largest. The space between the two and the surrounding area are followed by the meat and poultry area, the cooked food area, the non-staple grocery area, and the seafood area (later moved outside and set up a new stove). The paving is orderly, and they compete to display their own peach, willow, green, and purple. The high ceiling shelters the wind from the sun, and dozens of exhaust fans are scattered on the top. The first few times, my head was a little dazed when I went in. The noisy sounds gradually turned into tinnitus, and the silhouettes in front of me were like silent animations, and there was a bit of confusion and trance. As usual, my wife went to a well-known stall to buy things, and I followed behind, acting as the role of carrying things.

Every time I buy eggs, my wife always goes to that fixed stall. The wife said that their eggs are fresh and the stall owner is kind. This stall, which mainly sells multi-grain rice noodles, cooking oil seasonings and eggs, is clean and tidy, and the goods are arranged in an orderly manner. And every time I am in front of this shop, I can always find some joy. For example, this time, in the wooden grid where the goose eggs were placed, a rectangular cardboard was inserted. In addition to the price, there were two words written on it: “A piece of white cloud floats in the water, and the geese sing alarmed the birds in the forest. There are duck eggs in the wooden box next to it, and the cardboard stuck to the edge of the wooden frame also has two sentences: “I can’t go home after hearing the chirping of ducks, I catch fish and shrimp in the reed pond.” There is also a line of small characters “Bile yellow and oily.” ‘, which is astounding. On the black eggs are these two sentences: “The wind blows the grass and sees the black chicken, and the love is strong and the fragrance of the eggs floats thousands of miles.” These product labels he wrote by himself are not very elegant, but they are refreshing and serious, and some are still The use of different handwriting and colors to highlight it is obviously intentional. For example, he wrote this about stupid corn kernels: “Restore the old taste, recall childhood.” For Jiangmi noodles, that is, glutinous rice noodles, he wrote this: “Self-grinding Jiangmi, sticking to big teeth.” The prompt for eggs is This: “Each egg is bred by a mother chai chicken who eats the essence of five grains.”

Eggs are his main commodity, and the stall owner naturally refuses to take it lightly. Directly above the pile of eggs, hung a piece of plastic-sealed A4 paper, on which was a poem written in italics:

free-range chicken

Dew caught wild food,

Suqi Dongli Branch.

Thin-skinned and fragrant boy,


(Jixian Free-Range Egg Monopoly)

The Laba Festival is approaching, and the stall owner will also put Laba rice on it. His Laba rice is mixed with rice, black beans, red beans, peanuts, longan, mung beans, millet, glutinous rice, barley, black rice, kidney beans, red dates, rock sugar, etc. It looks really colorful, rich and attractive. Next to the wooden box full of Laba rice, the stall owner placed a wooden stone mill model, which is small, unique and meaningful. A well-crafted cardboard soliciting business, plastic-wrapped, inserted on a rice mountain, is still a poem:

Laba Porridge

Today’s vegetarian porridge, Wanhe grain,

Gu millet and white fruit are fragrant.

The winter cold porridge is warm and the night is long,

Drink up the fragrance of the sun and the moon.

On the left side of the small poem are the red eye-catching words: “Traditional old-fashioned Laba porridge, six yuan a catty, ten yuan two catties.”

Although the two words “fragrance” in the poem overlap somewhat, it is not necessary to ask too much, as long as they can express their mood; moreover, his business name “Wanhe Cereals and Oils” is embedded in the poem, and he is quite good at doing business.

In my memory, his little poems describing various commodities are often changed. I remember these two.

The stall owner is a middle-aged man of forty-seven or eighteen years old. His hair is sparse, his forehead is smooth, and the wrinkles on his face imply the vicissitudes of the past. With a Cangzhou accent, even though he has lived in this city for many years, the accent has not changed. He does business in a hurry, calm and kind. When he has nothing to do, he will hold a book in his hand and read it in the booth.

In the noisy vegetable market, in this corner, there is a ray of poetry in my life.