“When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness.”
As a child, one of my very favorite ways to spend an afternoon was by going to the bookstore. I could happily spend hours browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Dalton Books, or Encore (anyone else remember that one?). There would generally be a towering stack of titles in my hands by the time I was finished, tottering precariously as I made my way over to a table to sort through them and decide which were must-haves. That fresh book smell, that feeling of being surrounded by SO MANY WORDS, that anticipation of choosing which new world to leap into … it was priceless.
Today, there’s the Internet. And (often) cheaper prices online. And free shipping over certain dollar amounts. And Nooks/Kindles/iPads/iPhones. We can, quite literally, have a new book in our hands at the simple touch of a button. It’s efficient. It’s sensible. It’s awesome. I’ll be the first to admit that I buy most of my reading material online, whether it’s a print book or a digital one. But sometimes it’s nice to slip back through the folds of time and go to the bookstore. To physically immerse myself in the possibilities. To see the rows of crisp spines. To smell the coffee at the cafe. To hear the rustling sound of pages being turned. To feel like a kid in a candy shop again. So when I got a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for my birthday, I didn’t order anything online. I went to the store, wandered up and down the aisles, and let my eyes drift over the countless options. I’d had two specific books in mind, but one wasn’t there and the other was considerably more expensive than if I’d bought it via the website. That means, for the first time in a long time, I had the chance to just browse. To see what caught my attention, to read the jacket copy, to skim the first few pages, to choose a journey that’d be a surprise.
It was FUN. I ended up going with Charity Shumway’s TEN GIRLS TO WATCH, a book I’d never heard of before and one that sounded absolutely intriguing. The cover jumped out immediately (so … the opposite of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” I suppose) and the premise instantly drew me in. Add in the fact that one of my favorite authors blurbed it, and you have a win-win-win situation. I’ve been spending most of my time in Revision Land as of late (one week until the first round of edits is finished, whoohoo!) so the book is still in my to-read pile, but I’m looking forward to diving in.
My question to y’all: how do you judge a book? By its cover? Jacket copy? Blurbs? First sentence or paragraph? And do you still go into stores to buy your word-worlds, or are you exclusively an Internet shopper?