Saturday, December 31, 2005

Stocking Up on Books for the New Year (cuz you can never have too many)

Every holiday is a book buying holiday, especially when there is a bookstore gift card from another recent holiday burning a hole in the wallet. So off I went this afternoon to indulge in some browsing, buying and a peppermint mocha. It was surprisingly busy so browsing was not as enjoyable. It being 30 degrees outside, people, including myself, are carrying around coats. It makes for difficult maneuvering in narrow bookstore aisles. Plus I find people are generally oblivious to everything and everyone around them, standing in the middle of rows or clumping together in main areas making passing by impossible. At one point I was squatting down looking at the bottom rows on the bookmark rack. I had looked around first to make sure I was out of the way, when suddenly, out of nowhere a woman appears and whacks me in the head with her coat and purse as she bends over a table next to the bookmarks. I ahemed to let her know I was there but she didn't hear or didn't care because she promptly whacked me again. Of course, this might also be her idea of fun. I, however, was not amused. I managed to enjoy myself in spite of the horde, I was, after all, in a bookstore. And I happily own four new books:

  • Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. I'm hoping it's as good as The Rings of Saturn. Plus, it comes highly recommended by Sandra
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell. I've read 1984 twice and Animal Farm and a few essays so I thought I'd try something else. Plus the protagonist is a failed and impoverished poet who works in a London bookstore so it didn't take much deliberation.
  • The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield. I am ashamed to say I have never read Mansfield. I thought it time I get around to reading the woman Virginia Woolf loved to hate.
  • A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe. Perfect for the next time I'm in a morbid mood.
  • I was hoping to pick up Iain Sinclair's Lights Out for the Territory, but he was not on the shelf and when I inquired I was told they don't carry any of Sinclair's books. Of course it could be ordered but I was in the mood for instant gratification. Besides, the manager of the store happens to be my Bookman so I know who to complain to! I also lodged a complaint that the only books they had by Yukio Mishima were at the end of the Sea of Fertility tetralogy. I have heard good things about him and wanted to try his stand alone book, Confessions of a Mask, before I ventured anything else. But, I will have to wait on that one too. I was disappointed, but I don't blame the corporate buyer for not requiring the store stock the books I wanted. The store in question is out is conservative suburbia where su doku puzzle books have their own table at the front of the store. I learned a tip from my Bookman on how to tell the length of time a book has been on the shelf. The top edges of the pages of paperback books yellow with age. Katherine Mansfield is bright white, an obviously new copy. Defoe is a little gray. He's been sitting around for a few months. Orwell is a medium creamy color which means he's probably been on the shelf for close to a year. Sebald is dark yellow on the top edge. My Bookman informs me it has probably been on the shelf for well over a year, maybe two. How sad is that? So if Sebald and Orwell have been on the shelf a while, I can't expect there to be a huge demand for Mishima and Sinclair. Oh, how I wish there were, but business is business. Tonight will be spent at home decadently snacking on chips and dip and watching our new DVD of Serentity. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I do not go out on New Year's Eve. I prefer to let the drunk drivers have the roads to themselves. People also like to make noise at midnight and in my neighborhood they tend to do it by lighting firecrackers. My big brave dog, Godzilla, will take on snow plows, city buses, and trash trucks, but when the firecrackers start popping he starts whimpering. I hope everyone's New Year's celebrations are safe and happy!