Pages

02 May 2007

Choosy Books

JenClair and Danielle both asked recently how one chooses books: book store recommendations? newspaper reviews? blogs? friends? book groups? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Add in an occasional rummage sale, an impulse buy at a non-book store like the grocery, and, what is the least logical, somewhat difficult to define, but most fulfilling means: book serendipity.

Yes, I think books choose me as frequently as I choose them -- and maybe even more often. And when that happens, it truly seems like a happenstance; a rare lucky break, pure coincidence. Sometimes a book almost jumps off the shelf and into my hands. It may be its location in the store or library that catches my eye. It might be an intriguing cover, or great notes on the dust jacket. An unusual title might pique my interest. Sometimes it is on the remainders table, a fancy generic label slapped on the front to indicate the deeply discounted price. I have frequently picked up books by authors I have never heard of (some of whom I will never hear of again) simply because the book was discounted; in return I have been rewarded many times over with the discovery of an unknown bounty comprised of real literary gems.

Mix the books from all of the sources together and it's easy to see why I have so many books "in progress", or on my nightstand, or flowing off the shelves of my bookcases.

5 comments:

jenclair said...

I love the phrase "book serendipity," and the idea that sometimes books choose you!

Dorothy W. said...

I keep a list of books I'd like to read, but the truth of the matter is that I read and buy tons of books that aren't on the list. It's like the list is a backup in case I get stuck, but I often depend on book serendipity too!

chiefbiscuit said...

You do love books don't you?! I love the picture of the garden in May - it's just my kind of garden somehow ...

Emily Barton said...

Books absolutely choose me, too. They sure know how to give you that puppy-dog-please-take-me-home-because-nobody-else-wanted-me look from the discount table, don't they?

Cam said...

Emily -- only from the discount table? Wow, my wallet would be fatter if I were that lucky as they call me from every shelf!