Monday, January 21, 2013

My Score at the Store

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a Barnes and Noble gift card must be in want of many books.

Yesterday, I spent an hour before I was to meet my friend browsing about the myriad shelves and tables and displays of books at Barnes and Noble. I saw so many books I did not want to buy:

Battles of the Medieval World
1000 Tattoos of True Love
Gaga: A Photo Album
Bayonets: An Illustrated History

I searched for Thirkells but there were none to be found; not a Sylvia Townsend Warner among the fiction; no Collette.

I wandered aimlessly into the children's department looking for hardcover copies of Laura Ingall's Little House books. Zero.

My friend arrived. We went to have our 'buy one get one free cookie.' Unfortunately there was only one chocolate chunk chip delicacy left. We were told to try back in 20 minutes or so as the guy behind the counter was getting ready to bake another batch.

We left the store and went to lunch. We came back. Again I wandered from shelf to shelf. My friend understood my dilemma: I didn't want to fritter away my $25 gift card. 

I needed to take myself firmly in hand. Finally, I made a decision and purchased five hardcover editions of Jane Austen novels: Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.

These are B&N Classic editions with lovely covers that were on sale. I paid a mere four dollars for each book. 

You notice there is no Pride and Prejudice. Well, there wasn't a copy to be found. That's OK. P&P is the only Austen book I have read. (When I got home I located a copy of the same edition at Abe Books, so I can complete my set.)

Now here is the rub. I hope I like Ms. Austen! If I remember correctly, I had a few false starts before I finally finished P&P. In any event, these volumes will look beautiful sitting on my shelf as I read my way through them. 

We finally did get our cookies and sat in the cafe watching other shoppers wander about the huge store looking dazed and confused.

In the end, here is what I know about myself and book buying:

I thrill to the chase; I much prefer digging around in a used bookshop being surprised by treasures unsought -- books I didn't even know I wanted. 

Dust be damned.


  1. I am so jealous that you still have Austen's best books to discover! As much as I love P&P, I think it is the weakest of the six. I adore rereading the books (and reading about them) but there is nothing quite like reading them for the very first time. I do hope you end up liking Austen!

    1. Thanks Claire. Your comment has inspired me. I know so many love, love, love Jane Austen. And what a great way of thinking of reading her...for the first time. Any suggestion as to which book I should start with?

    2. I think Persuasion would be the perfect place for you to start. After Emma, it is my favourite.

    3. Thanks Claire. That makes two votes for 'Persuasion'. I have heard that 'Emma' is very popular so I will follow up with that one.

      It is odd about Austen because I have seen so many of the TV series and movies based on her books that I feel as if I know all about her. I suppose I am in for a delightful surprise.

  2. I agree with your last paragraph! Big book book stores with all new items overwhelm me. I'd rather dig around among old books, as long as they don't smell musty!

    BTW I recently indulged and got hardback copies of all the "Little House" books used from Amazon and Alibris. Reverting back to my childhood? At least I won't have to wait until my dad finishes reading them to have my turn.
    Joyce in KS

  3. Joyce, how wonderful that you treated yourself to the sturdy versions of 'Little House' books. I actually have not read them and want to find the hardcover editions. I did't read many children's books as a child and have so enjoyed catching up with them as an adult. That is why I keep digging around in dusty used bookshops.

  4. Belle, You will enjoy Austen I have no doubt. "Persuasion" is my favourite.

    1. Thanks Tullik. Maybe I will begin with "Persuasion" and move on from there.