A Visit to the Book Store

Every once in a while I remind myself that if we book buyers don’t buy at least some of our books at the remaining brick and mortar book stores, we have only ourselves to blame if those stores disappear.  So yesterday I drove over to the local Barnes & Noble, looking for two books in particular, but open to browsing.  And I didn’t even have a gift card.

The up side of book store shopping is good old instant gratification.  Yes, that’s always available on your e-reader, but if you want a physical book, even Amazon will make you wait a few days.

The down side, in a strange way, is the aforementioned browsing.  When I look for something on line, I usually know what I’m looking for, at least within limits.  When I wander through the aisles at B&N, I’m haunted by the knowledge that I’d really like to read about half of what I see, in spite of all those running feet of unread books waiting at home.  Cozy mysteries, which I love, seem to be taking over the racks, with backgrounds involving cooking, knitting, quilting, jewelry, witchcraft, and heaven knows what else.  They all sound like fun, and I will never get to most of them.

So I tend to feel a bit overwhelmed in a brick and mortar book store, and some times I go in with metaphorical blinkers on, protecting me from temptation.

Bad MonkeyThe first book that caught my eye as I walked in was Bad Monkey, the latest novel by Carl Hiaasen.  I’ve read all of Hiaasen’s hilariously wild novels, and I couldn’t pass this one up.  Even after reading the flap, I have no idea what part the titular monkey plays in the story, and I don’t care.  Perhaps because I lived in South Florida, where all Hiaasen’s tales are set, I have an extra appreciation for the ambiance, even though I haven’t been back in many years.

Then I went looking for the books I’d actually come in for.  The first was The Lotus Palace, by Jeannie Lin, who has proved The Lotus Palacethat there is in fact a market for romances set in ninth century China.  I’ve read several of her short novels and novellas set in that era and enjoyed them all.  The Lotus Palace is a longer book dealing with the courtesan culture of the Tang Dynasty, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

The Sound and the FurryNext on my list was The Sound and the Furry, Spencer Quinn’s latest installment in the adventures of Chet and Bernie Little, detectives extraordinaire.  Chet, who narrates the stories, is a dog who flunked out of police K9 training (“something about a cat,” as he vaguely recalls), and Quinn just nails his fuzzy, easily distracted, and totally loyal point of view.  I have all the previous Chet and Bernie mysteries on my shelf, and I was delighted to find this one (its official release date is still two days away).  The earlier stories have been set in an unnamed valley in the desert west (Bernie worries a lot about water conservation), but this time the team is headed for New Orleans.

I don’t read as much science fiction as I once did (but then I don’t seem to have time to read as much of anything as I used Mistto), but I let myself wander down those aisles, too, and there I spotted a novel by Susan Krinnard.  I read several of Krinnard’s futuristic romances when I was first introduced to the subgenre, but that was quite a few years ago.  The novel I picked up on Saturday, Mist, is about a Valkyrie trying to live a normal life in contemporary San Francisco.  I’m betting the Fates won’t allow that.

I know, I know, I didn’t need four more books for the TBR shelf, not after that long evening I spent reorganizing the embarrassingly large collection I already have.  But need doesn’t really come into the equation with books, does it?  At least I spread them out: a romance, a mystery, and a science fiction/fantasy.  I have no idea how to categorize, or even describe, Carl Hiaasen, but I recommend his books wholeheartedly.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ellenO
    Sep 10, 2013 @ 10:12:11

    Lovely post. I think I may just pick up that dog narrated story. That has to be fascinating. One simply cannot have too long a WTR list. I use “Waiting To Read” instead of “To Be Read” as a small psychological prompt to remind me future friends and other characters are waiting to teach, scare the bejesus out of, and otherwise entertain me. And one can never have too many friends.

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    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 10, 2013 @ 12:10:24

      I’ve read the first few chapters of The Sound and the Furry, and it’s just as good as the previous ones. I think this is the sixth or seventh Chet & Bernie mystery, but you don’t have to read them in order. They are definitely on my “some time when I have time I want to read this whole series again” shelf.

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  2. Carolyn M Kenney
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 09:03:25

    You posted a thoughtful insight to the visiting the latest dinosaurs called brick and mortar bookstores. I call them dinosaurs because they are becoming hard to come by. A B&N that was a few short miles from me closed this past July. If we no longer go to browse the brick buildings we will be left with just the online sources. Even if we don’t have a main purpose to go such as locating the latest best seller, we may need to go there to get over the feeling of being bombarded by the many titles on the racks.

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    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 19, 2013 @ 11:47:06

      Carolyn, years ago my late husband and I spent frequent weekends browsing through the many used and new bookstores scattered through the Houston area. He was always looking for military history, I was searching for Texas history, mysteries, and science fiction. Most of those shops are long gone, alas, and I miss them. I have to admit it’s a lot easier to find a particular old or out-of-print book on line, but I miss the fun of finding something totally unexpected, some old county history I didn’t even know existed or even, before the Internet, finally finding the last missing volume in a series and feeling like I was scurrying home with a treasure.

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