Thursday, 13 March 2008

.....And I didn't buy a book!

The unthinkable happened yesterday. I went into my friend's Coles bookstore in Bayshore shopping mall, and my daughter Holly-Anne chose books for herself and Graham for Easter. As we were leaving the store, I suddenly realized that I hadn't looked at any books. I was leaving without a book for myself! Since we were on kind of a tight timeline - dinner out with my friend Patricia at the mall -a girl's evening with Holly-Anne with us - I decided I would wait until I had time to really browse. I love going into a bookstore and spending an hour there just looking over the shelves and seeing what's new, what I want, what looks interesting, possible gifts for others. Nothing quite gives me the same pleasure as a room full of books, all waiting to be lifted, each one, and the cover opened and try the first page and see if I like the writing enough to buy. This is how I often pick out new authors, based on the first page or two or three. I can tell I'm interested in a book if I end up reading 5 or 6 pages without realizing it! This doesn't mean that the book itself will be good, just that the beginning is. And have I ever read any of those? Oh yes!! My shelves and past reading lists are littered with books that I finished, but only think rate a 2 or 3 - so-so books that I read because I began them, not because they swept me away and that I thoroughly enjoyed. For example, from my books read for 2007, A Fistful of Sky - by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, The Songcatcher - by Sharon McCrumb, Killing the Shadows - by Val McDermid - are the books I could not whole-heartedly recommend to anyone, for various reasons, but mainly each are among the weakest books written by each author. Almost everything else I read last year I would be able to recommend happily, even though none swept me away completely.

I have to qualify this by saying that I did love my favourites - Jasper Fforde, which I am so enjoying! - Ian Rankin, Tanya Huff, Janet Evanovich, Peter Robinson, that I gave a copy of Sun Storm by Asa Larsson to my mother, bought Storm Front by Jim Butcher (the Harry Dresden files series, which was also on tv and we were both enjoying) for my eldest son, had lent A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons to a friend (she loved it also), and my mother and I yearly exchange Ian Rankin, which I got her reading when I lent her Black and Blue several years ago. But the thrill of discovering a new author I love - Fred Vargas might become one, if I can ever get my hands on a copy of Wash This Blood From My Hands to confirm my suspicions that she is a very good mystery writer! - that thrill wasn't outstanding in a book last year. And yet, it was a good year for reading, even though my totals are awful. 37 books! Except for 2005, where I read 23 books only - my lowest total ever, I think - last year was among the lowest total books read in year. There are so many books to read, I know there are countless treasures waiting for me out there. So when I left the bookstore last night, sans books for myself, I promised that I would be back as soon as I could. This is not counting the 11 books I've bought for myself since Jan 1 of this year! It was just surprising that I didn't even get a chance to glance at a book, and it felt strange. So, Gentle Reader, has this ever happened to you? and could you only leave by promising you would be back as soon as you could?

It's March break so I am home with Holly-Anne and Graham, and fights over the computer occur hourly, thus my silence this week. Speaking of which, they are circling again, so I will be back later to talk about THE STORM on Sat-Sunday, and how we are still coping with the snowfall. And for those who are curious - we had the most snow of any city, on Saturday, and are well within reaching the all time snow record now! I tried getting pictures of our street after the storm, but Blogger wouldn't let me on Sunday add them to this site.

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