If you want to get the most out of a bookstore there is one rule to follow: enter through its doors blindly. As in, without reason. Mindlessly. No determination needed. In fact, leave all thought in a bin by the door, along with the umbrellas. When you enter, reckless, you will find yourself thumbing through books you’ve longed ignored, who grab your attention. They speak to you. Now you are impulsive. You find yourself, strangely, thumbing through a poet’s book, eyes landing on words: springy, morning air, rebels, smoke. Now you are lost in a memoir, where you might find strength, empathy. Stock up on page turners, new authors discovered because covers entice. Don’t question your impulsivity, or the titles in your stack, or the way they make you feel when you touch their spines. Why consider the cost when you never wonder how much is spent on lattes or lunches out? Just take your stack, tuck them into your oversized leather bag, walk proudly by the umbrellas, but don’t forget to collect your thoughts! Once outside you will need them. Go read! From the seat of your old car, under the bare tree in a ray of sunshine, stuffed at a small table at a crowded, loud cafe, or while perched on the top step of an old school building. Read as you ignore the slamming of car doors, children calling out to parents, to the beating of your own heart. Nothing matters, for you have blindly entered the pages of another world–you have begun to run away.
Observations on the last five books I read:
- All but one of the last five books I have read are hardback
- Two of them are nonfiction
- All five are written by women and about women
- One was written by a new author
- Their covers are shades of blue, white, and gold
- Three of the books were written in 2017. One in 2016, one in 2014
Of the five, all are well-written page turners that left me feeling something at the end of the experience.
- Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit. Found this book while visiting Burlington, Vermont. Men explain things to me often, so the title drew me in. Read this book to ignite your voice. If you are a women you may be feeling defeated in this New World Order. Solint’s book is a rallying cry: We will Persist!
- A Word for Love, Emily Robbins. The book arrived in my monthly subscription box. The author went to college in my town, won a lot of prestigious awards, and makes me feel like a sloth. A page-turner because the story (set in the Middle East) took me out of my known world. Good for the beach or subway-ride reading.
- South and West: From a Notebook, Joan Didion. While in Cleveland, Ohio I paid a visit to a bookstore that employed a cat to greet and chase mice. The cat sat at my feet while I paged through Didion’s book. The cat kept interrupting me to force me to pet him. A nearby clerk reminded me it was International Women’s Day. To celebrate I bought the book. I find Didion’s prose relaxing, like finding shade on a porch after during a smoldering hot day. She (and I) spent more time in the South then the West, but that was fine by me. This is Didion–and why you read this book.
- All Grown Up, Jami Attenberg. Another book that arrived in my monthly subscription service, along with a candle we had to toss because the smell made me want to puke. The characters in the novel are strong, fully developed, and familiar. I’d recommend this to any Gen-Xer still trying to figure out who they are and where they are going.
- Transit, Rachel Cusk. Cusk is my current author crush. I want to be her intelligent protagonists. Her novel’s themes are always moving and reflective. What most intrigues me about Cusk’s writing is her use of the protagonist as a conduit of non-reactive observation on the characters around her.
Confessions of a book glutton, day 1.
According to my bank account, I have spent approximately $500 on books in the fourth quarter. I say fourth quarter to make it sound like spending hundreds of dollars on books is my business instead of my addiction. Otherwise the perception might be that I have a problem. Which I don’t. No problemo here, friends. Nothing to look at. Move on….
Confessions, day 2
Today I discover the Japanese word Tsundoku in my Facebook feed. Tsundoku means acquiring reading materials to let pile up, then never reading them. As in: I am guilty of Tsundoku, as evidenced by the $500 worth of books piled around the house.
I have to be in the mood for a book on Saving Capitalism or a best seller about a middle-aged working gal who has suffered heartbreak. Today, for example, I’m in the mood for a good page-turning mystery. Unfortunately, my Tsundoku is sans a mystery novel. Tsundoku normalizes my reading pile. How is having a pile of books not instant comfort?
Confessions, Day 3
Look here! A monthly subscription book service where you get a cloth book (that’s pub speak for “hard back”) and a packet of tea! I could use some tea. Picture this: me, snuggled under a blanket, steaming mug of orange blossom tea sits on the radiator while a Noreaster blows through city streets. If not for my Tsundoku I would go hungry. It’s not like I have piles of tea…
Confessions, Day 4
I’ve got five books going at one time. Is this normal? Google informs me I’m a poly-reader. What?! Maybe I should watch TV.
Confessions, Day 5
On TV I see Jimmy Carter talking with Oprah about his latest book, A Full Life. He’s such a smart, compassionate man. I’ll just sample a chapter in iBooks, take a read before I make a commitment. Wonder if there is a word for piles of chapters stacked in the iCloud?
Confessions, Day 6
Looks like Icelanders do a book exchange on Christmas Eve. And Barnes and Noble emailed me a coupon! Feeling Nordic.
Confessions, Day 7
Sat in the chair I bought for book reading, cat curled up in my lap, books all around. My husband has asked me several times if I want to go to get a coffee from a shop which is located two doors down from a bookstore. Think I’ll pass, I said, the cat is asleep and this book is fantastic. Been hours since I’ve seen him, but I don’t wonder where he’s gotten to. I’ve got so many good friends to keep me company.