bookshops vs t’internet

Really the Internet has got a long long way to go if it’s going to beat the experience of browsing in a bookshop.

Today I stole 30 minutes at lunch time to have a wonder around Waterstones on bold street, It’s recently been refurbished and is now bright and airy, not something you would normally associate with a good book browsing experience, and it does take some getting use to, but compared to the relative drought of bookshops in my life, it made very little difference to the experience overall.

I do have trouble picking books I would like; so many nowadays are just chick-lit or crime/thriller with a “bit of a twist”. They leave me cold; boy meets girl, has some form of family trauma embarrassing secret in the middle of the book, looses girl, finds girl, girl has second thoughts. girl discovers gambling…. it’s all the same sameyness and I just can’t get into it without throwing the book at the wall.

Amazon isn’t really much help here, because it’s virtually impossible to browse. Yes you can go down in to many different categories of books, but still you either are looking at the bestsellers or things rated by customers, and the problem with that is the mass public like chick-lit or crime/thriller, and besides how do I know if I fancy a technothriller, or a political dram? I just want a good book.

This is where walking the isles of waterstones always wins – yes there is still a sea of trash, but good books do surprisingly stand out. You can quickly ignore all the pink books (chick-lit) and all the black books (crime/thriller) and focus on books that look good, I’ve even taken to reading those little recommendation notes they hang off the shelves.

I know judging books by their cover is silly, but i tell you it works better than you would think. you may miss some stunning books but you find more good stuff than just random clicking ever will.

Anyway in thirty minutes of aimless floating, I found at least three books I would by if I in-fact had any money at the moment:

Seeing – Jose Saramago

Seeing - Joes SaramagoA book about political disillusionment. Based around elections where almost no one turns out to vote, and those who do, don’t even fill out there ballot papers, the government then descends into panic. Sounds interesting, a story about something other than football and girls (or maybe it is?).

Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony – Eion Colfer

Artimis Fowl - Lost ColonyPersonally I think Artemis Fowl books are better than Harry Potter. I know it’s a children’s book, and some people are very snobby, but that just shows you the lack of imagination in ‘adult’ fiction that the best selling books are aimed at kids and bought by adults.

?AA Gill is Away – AA Gill

AA Gill is awayI like travel writing, not in huge doses, sometimes the same old bits of witty insight into the way ‘other’ cultures do something can get a bit tiresome – but this book looks interesting, It’s essentially a collection of travel Attica’s written for the Sunday times, which will either be it’s saving grace with short not to dreary essays or its downfall with rather hashed together articles about somewhere he got dragged to. still I think it’s worth a go.

It took me 30 minutes in the shop to narrow it down to three books I would buy, it took me at least that long to find them again in amazon just to add them to my wish list* and download the pictures. I could quite easily spend all day in a bookshop, especially now they all have a Costa or Starbucks in them. but I would bankrupt us, and in all likelihood end up with a house full of books that I’d never read. maybe that will be what I do when I retire.

[oh and in-case your wondering still no sign of the baby]

*(boom as the hint hits the floor!)