My intention was to write about something sensible and cerebral but I had such an itchy purse today and a frenzy of bookish spending that I just had to share. First of all, the gorgeous John Rylands Library where I work at the weekends are selling fantastic bags that I just had to buy to cart all of my rubbish *ahem* important material around in:
Next came Cancer Research where I picked up The Island by Victoria Hislop and Brick Lane by Monica Ali. The former is one that has caught my eye for a while and I have been looking to pick up for the right price as I remember reading and enjoying The Return (more than I thought I would) a year or so ago. I would describe it as a definate sun lounger read, but with an intelligent edge and a great deal of research into the relevant area of history that made it all the more engaging. I am hoping that The Island will be similar fare, the leprosy theme strikes me as quite dark and I am looking forward to getting tucked into something that will be a fairly easy read. The latter is a book I have seen on my parents shelves and reviewed a million times but have never, for whatever reason, bothered to pick up. After seeing elements of it examined on Faulks on Fiction however, I thought it was about time to have a read.
Intending to move on to the next charity/individual bookshop this afternoon, I felt a rare tug whilst passing by Waterstones and went in. After reading about the closure of Borders stores on various blogs across the water, it got me reflecting on my own book-buying habits. Myself and the bf have always been more comfortable buying our books from charity shops or from independent retailers. The price, overall experience and feeling that you are not merely filling the pockets of some faceless chain-store being just three of the reasons why I buy books in that way. Having said that, I do buy books from Amazon, but I would justify this by saying that I simply can’t always find everything I want in the independents and I always, always buy used books from individual retailers who just happen to be selling on Amazon. However, I did do the 3 for 2 today, for the first time in years and I have been wondering what indeed compelled me to do so. Sure, the smell and look of a brand new book is just….well, as sad as I am, mouth-watering (!!) And you also get the lovely, newly designed jackets and all the other fantastic things that come with new books. I suppose the idea of, on occasion, actually paying what the book is worth is also a decent thing to do.
On a grander scale; I live in Manchester, and in these parts I have a variety of bookshops to go to (although let’s not get overexcited, it could be better) however, what happens to the vast majority of people who don’t live in larger cities and only have the bog-standard high street to choose from? Yes, there is the internet, but it hardly flies the flag for literacy and learning like a good solid bookshop (however chainey) does sitting on your local high street next to Primarni.
Yes, I do blanch at the idea of paying more than five pound for a book, yes, I often only use the likes of Waterstones for drooling and window-shopping, however, as with the libraries, if I do dread the possibility of our own staple high-street book retailer going into administration, shouldn’t we cease to be such hypocrites and contribute from time to time?
I bought (rather unimaginatively but what is one to do?):
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro (on the TBR list for far too long, I absolutely loved Remains of the day and, although I have heard it is very different, I hope to love this just as much)
South Riding by Winifred Holtby (this caught my eye as I walked in; I haven’t even seen the BBC series but it struck me that it must be worth reading and I should really start building up a decent Virago collection afterall- I bought the version with the nice cover not the rubbish ‘televised series’ copy)