Yesterday I had to be bodily dragged from one of my favorite little independent bookstores, the Red Lion Bookshop in Burford. Although we were already leaving the store with a hefty bag of goodies, I spied a new Anne Fadiman on one of those irresistible tables near the door. Every book-truffling nerve in my body went on alert. I gave Sigmund the begging puppy dog eyes, but he responded with a firm NO and frogmarched me out the door. It is a truth well acknowledged by my family: I am a book lover (addict). I have a bit of a habit, and sometimes it gets out of control.
I don't buy expensive shoes or handbags, but I do buy lots and lots of books. Although I may show restraint and frugality in some areas, if I go into a bookstore then it is a certainty that I will be leaving with something. Or several somethings.
It is not unsurprising, then, that I regard Christmas as a particularly good opportunity to give and to get . . . books. We always have lots of tell-tale blocky packages under the tree. Even though my children are both avid readers, there is a particular facial expression which could be described as, "This is a book, right?"
Last week, I gave this lovely book of nonsense rhyme to a little boy that I tutor. He is an enthusiastic listener, but a reluctant reader of books. He handled the package a bit, and then said: "This is a book, right?"
Then he asked me if I could get him a toy instead. Sigh.
A Book that I really, really want: Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
Big Important Books of the Year:
A Book that Sigmund would like to borrow: The Rest is Noise, Max Ross
A Book that my Father would like to borrow: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
A Book for Christmas Travellers: Dear American Airlines, Jonathan Miles
A Memoir that interests me: Somewhere Towards the End, Diana Athill
A Book for the Teachers amongst us: Ms. Hempel Chronicles, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
A Book for those who need some alone-time: The Other, David Guterson
Books (I've already ordered) from fellow Bloggers:
Presents from Persephone!
Sarah, from the Sarah Laurence blog, had the great idea of doing a Blogger Book Boost this year. In her own boost for books, she noted that the publishing industry is suffering at the moment and that the "little people" (new authors and independent bookstores) are finding it particularly difficult.
I LOVE independent bookstores . . . and I really put my money where my mouth is, too. Here is a short list of favorites that I have visited (and in some cases, revisited) this year:
River Oaks Bookstore, Houston, Texas
Books for Cooks, London
Persephone Books, London
Daunt Books, London
Red Lion Bookshop, Burford, England
The White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough, England
The Country Bookseller, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Although I do use Amazon for convenience and BookPeople for their cheap prices, there is nothing that replaces a good browse -- and a discovery! -- in a unique bookstore.
Just a Plane Ride Away posted her book list yesterday, and I'm now wild to read A Writer's Paris -- just to name one title. Sigmund only has 12 more shopping days, because we are flying away on December 19th and I'm going to need some good beach books.