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Booking A Trend

12 Jul
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Book sniffing delight.

I haven’t mentioned the U.S in a while but with Christina’s timely reminder over our wanton amount of book buying, it brought back to mind this criminally half finished post that needed completing. Talking about, as it does, our copious volume purchasing adventures that eventually reached almost obscene proportions.

It’s an intimate thing as any book fan will tell you, the sharing of and buying of books for others, getting them into a book that has particularly touched you and that NEEDS to be read by everyone, in your very unbiased opinion.

For the books you keep for yourself but long to share with others, you know the ones, they have well-worn covers, the smooth nature of the words, polished by your eyes for they have been read so many times, the homely feel of them being the definitive version.  These we hoard with a worrying amount of jealousy.  Why mention them here? because we all have them and you are as guilty as me, that and I like to be fair to all sides in my musings but I digress as usual…

It is special indeed and something that e-readers can’t replicate. Couple that with the age and smell of a book and the way you see people holding a book, lovingly turning it over and flicking through pages as they tell you about it….it is indeed a magical sight to behold.

Venturing into American bookshops is a bit different from England as you would expect, firstly and I am not sure if this indicative of the US as a whole but all the bookshops had their own second hand sections, which does rob you guys over there of the joys of a whole building full of musty books, but you may have those as well, I really need to explore further.

Taking great delight in finding a full price book and then its nearly new (and cheaper!) counterpart is always a great hobby and one I feel we successfully mastered in the first of the four shops situated around Richland, however there was a blot on the horizon….the lack of a good travel section.  I do not wish to moan at all, as there were enough good and great books in other genres to keep both of us amused and well…giddy in some instances but there are some great travel writers out there and to not give the public a chance to discover them is criminal…I did find myself wanting to shout ‘there are countries other than the US you know!’ but restrained myself for fear of being hounded out of town like you see on cowboy films.

I was interested in the differences between European and American books, besides spelling of course, I found that some books contain great swathes of white, margins, empty pages to excess and big fonts, it gave the impression that I was holding a book for a child.  Not all books were like this thankfully, in fact a lot I came across weren’t which makes the trees happier I am sure, other than that the covers of some books, which I take to be the American specific editions (rather than general international editions) had more varied tactile covers, either really glossy or pleasingly dry, it was a touch sensation of polar proportions indeed.

This is not to say that there is anything really negative in my pickiness, although I prefer a non glossy cover so my finger marks don’t show up on it – you never know what the government can do with that – I’ve seen the Bourne films.  One area in which America has Europe, well England at least, beat, is the covers, there are some wonderfully arty covers and a lot of them seem to be competitively priced with the usual coverings.  Over here we would have to pay more for a jazzy cover so let the jealousy commence.

Inevitably some books had to be put back, there was much sulking and looks of a tortuous nature to be had, as many great writers had to be returned to the shelf for some other lucky reader to get their sticky paws on but such is the nature of life and of course guarantees many return visits to buy and find more treasures.  Double pain came for me with the realisation that I could not take all of my purchases back home, so a few of mine own had to be left…for me to return to one day.

So whilst I helped procure Christina a library of 42 books, we both went down different routes, I settled for a more Magical Realism based route with Eco, Márquez and Calvino and Christina attacked Philosophy and also the Greco-Roman world with Livy, Plato, Apollonius and Herodotus.  Here’s the final library with a few books I bought and brought from the UK, namely Aku-Aku and Love in the Time of Cholera.

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52 Comments

Posted by on 12/07/2013 in USAdventure

 

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52 responses to “Booking A Trend

  1. Alastair

    12/07/2013 at 18:48

    I do love picking up a book and running my fingers over the raised surface at several points.

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    • Ste J

      12/07/2013 at 19:00

      The tactile and bumpy nature of books is a wonderfully intimate thing, I love doing that as well. Running my fingers over polished spines is possibly the best thing since sliced bread, in my opinion…

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  2. mountainmae

    12/07/2013 at 18:55

    Reblogged this on mountainmae and commented:
    Home is when the books get on the shelves. This is my first
    reblog…because it ran true for me. I found i spend more disposable income on books than anything else. What are you favorite books?

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      12/07/2013 at 19:06

      My first reblog is yonks, thanks! Favourite books….blimey there’s a good question. I will plump for Crime and Punishment, Catch 22 and A Pound of Paper…and completely change my mind tomorrow!

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      • Bumba

        13/07/2013 at 06:40

        Good picks. Good blog! I don’t get into that tactile thing with books, though. Maybe I’m out of touch. Ouch. I stopped saving books a while ago. I just love what’s in them. Once I read them I don’t need them anymore. By the way, I hear there’s a new one on the way called One Life Or the Lives of Chester Knowles. On the way to you, as soon as I have them.

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        • Ste J

          13/07/2013 at 15:09

          I know what you mean, I am paring down on them as well at the moment, although I am keeping all the really good ones and that means your debut novel. I am looking forward to your next one, as you know. The title alone is extremely intriguing…oh, I just got your out of touch comment, haha amusing!

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      • mountainmae

        13/07/2013 at 22:21

        I haven’t read a Pound of Paper but it sounds great. Thanks

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        • Ste J

          16/07/2013 at 15:41

          It is a wonderful way to inspire yourself to fork out on lots more books…well that is my excuse at least.

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  3. Letizia

    12/07/2013 at 23:16

    Great book selection (I expected no less!). I haven’t found much difference between US and UK bookshops but perhaps it depends on where in the US? I would love if my local bookstores had a used book section – very cool idea!

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    • Ste J

      13/07/2013 at 15:11

      I think I prefer second hand books separate from the new book stores, that way I get twice as much browsing done. I do crave that old book smell, as well as the better selection used bookshops provide. Keep them in business and keep good literature alive is my motto…I always say that, come to think of it…just never to anyone else.

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      • Letizia

        13/07/2013 at 19:37

        That’s a good point. I love the smell of a second hand bookstore- it makes the experience of browsing all the more special!

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  4. Robyn Lee

    13/07/2013 at 02:04

    Truly thrilled to see this post Ste J …It was just recently I figured out you journeyed here, and had a live home visit with Penny, Christina and her adorable children! How amazing — and I loved reading your take on the bookstores/books here -vs- there. 42 books you left behind – oh my…what a perfect gift from YOU! Christina testifies that you are just as awesome in the flesh as you are here in our virtual kingdom too 🙂 It sounds like a perfect way to visit America to me. Great post my friend – these 2 images are just fantastic! 🙂 x RL

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    • Ste J

      13/07/2013 at 15:20

      I do like to leave some wonderful gifts in my wake, I thought everyone would be all America’d out after my previous seven back to back America posts so I have left this one for a while so I could sync up with Christina’s planned post. Penny and Christina were also as awesome in real life…sometimes we all assume that people are different on here than in real life because the ‘net is a place where you can ‘be anyone’, so it was refreshing to know that they and most likely all the awesome people on here are putting out their own selves for us to see. it is extremely intimate and a wondrous gift.

      The actual going over to your side of the pond…or puddle as the Spanish apparently call it, was a great experience and the first time I have ever done anytihng on my own other than going the 250 miles to see another person years ago. I like to think I am a better for confident writer for having gone over.

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      • Robyn Lee

        13/07/2013 at 18:32

        You did seven posts while here? Oh only think I caught a few… must search! It really is refreshing to know you guys all connected this way… and it was all REAL! I’m sure now whenever Christina peruses her beautiful shelf of books, she has wonderful memories of your visit. (BTW, my college aged-daughter who just returned from Spain (fluent in Spanish etc) was very acquainted with Marquez and his works – yay!)

        Wow – so this was your first time on such an adventure ~ so exciting. I wish I’d traveled in my younger years (I worked for the airline industry in my 20s and had all expense paid first class air privileges but was too dumb to realize the value so just did the business trip thing)…. Now it’s quite a challenge for me to navigate the airports and the sitting time… but perhaps one day. And yes — these kinds of journeys must certainly enhance your writing, and offer all kinds of new perspectives — so thrilled you had this opportunity!
        x R

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        • Ste J

          16/07/2013 at 15:53

          I wrote the posts when I came back, I was to busy over there to have much time to order my thoughts, although there was one day that I was sat out in the garden writing my thoughts down and musing on such topics as life. I looked introspective apparently…that is more than likely lol. You will find them all, if you haven’t already, in the USAdventure category.

          Márquez is the man, great to see your daughter is a fan as well. It’s a small world, I plan to take a few more Márquez with me next time as well.

          First time alone on a plane, third ever plane flight. I really had no idea but oddly wasn’t nervous. Hindsight is a wonderful thing I guess it is a shame you didn’t travel but yes it certainly did enhance my writing and points of view on life. It really gave me confidence to just do stuff. Who knows what i will do now. I could turn up on anyone’s doorstep with a book and a smile.

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  5. angela

    13/07/2013 at 04:34

    must give you thanks for this post reminded me that two ‘musty’ books that were being ‘demusted’ under my sink needed to be rescued (its been over a month – forgot what I bought!) . We do have full-on used bookshops in the States – there are some fab ones in the Midwest. Dig the picture – I love to check out other peeps shelves. ~ a

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    • Ste J

      13/07/2013 at 15:05

      There is something a bit voyeuristic about looking at people’s books. Even non readers have to have a look when they come around my place.

      You have given me license, as if I needed the excuse, to now go and hunt around all the different states for bookshops. Merely for curiosity, not like I’m obsessed or anything! Also glad to remind you of your ‘demusting’ books, that has got to be the word of the week.

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  6. RoSy

    13/07/2013 at 05:20

    That sounded like quite the adventure!
    I would have gone straight to the picture books 🙂

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    • Ste J

      13/07/2013 at 13:35

      They are the best, I was particularly struck by one called The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy as a kid, it has this one bit about a tunnel that has always stayed with me, naturally I always struggle to find a copy, but the thrill is in the chase of course.

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  7. gargoylebruce

    13/07/2013 at 08:13

    That is a very attractive shelf.

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    • Ste J

      13/07/2013 at 14:57

      If I hadn’t shown off the beauty of Christina’s shelves then I could have been accused of shelvishness.

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  8. Penny L Howe

    13/07/2013 at 15:57

    An excellent post SteJ and photos (well duh!) what’s not to like/love here! Books,bookstores, book intimacy, bookshelves, Christina,You, your trip, speaking of which … and your next trip across the pond is …?

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    • Ste J

      16/07/2013 at 15:40

      my next trip will be next year, there is much to be sorted out before then and money to be saved and then my trip shall be longer and my sanity shall crumble, as it should!

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      • Penny L Howe

        16/07/2013 at 17:21

        Actually I think your sanity will do exceedingly well SteJ!!! In fact I’m sure of it! This family is finally leaving a very very bad place they were stuck in for a few years (through no fault of their own) and is now moving forward and gaining positive momentum. I just see much frivolity and creativity ahead for all! 🙂 xx

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        • Ste J

          16/07/2013 at 17:24

          Then I shall get right in on the action, possibly with a humourous T shirt and a funny walk, or something more witty. It will be great to experience even more awesomeness next time around with added longevity. xx

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  9. Christina ~

    14/07/2013 at 00:26

    Exquisite beginnings to an epic library indeed!! I love looking at them and remembering their procurement and all the conversation, adventures…in our quest! It was the bestest time I’ve had…in I’m not sure how long! For that and your gifts I thank you dearest sir… I vow to keep them safe…loved… and reminded of how much I adore each one…

    To all I say…share a book for you share not only something that touched you personally but also can touch others in inexplicable and long lasting ways…a gift that keeps giving!! Most important is the smell test of course…I may not judge a book by it’s cover but most definitely by it’s magical scent!! xxxx ~

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    • Ste J

      16/07/2013 at 15:59

      The key word being beginning, there shall be more to come I am sure, more authors, varied subjects, anything and everything that arouses the least bit of curiosity in us shall be – for the right price – added to our collection. There are so many great adventures to be lived through them.

      Lol, the smell test! I don’t see how I can add anything to your wonderful words here other than to say…yeah, what she said. xxxx

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  10. iliannamathioudakis

    15/07/2013 at 20:19

    Best feeling of them all :p

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    • Ste J

      16/07/2013 at 16:05

      You’ve got that right! Welcome to the blog, I shall put the kettle on.

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  11. Chelsea Brown19

    15/07/2013 at 23:41

    It was very interesting to learn about the differences in books/bookstores in the UK compared to the US.

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    • Ste J

      16/07/2013 at 15:43

      Glad you liked it…perhaps we will see different covers for your books when they are released?

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      • Chelsea Brown19

        16/07/2013 at 17:59

        I hope so that would be awesome to see all of the different covers.

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        • Ste J

          16/07/2013 at 18:02

          The collectors would go nuts for ’em as well.

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  12. anna amundsen

    19/07/2013 at 07:18

    What struck me the most is this jaw-dropping, smile invoking and heartwarming gesture of yours – to give a small, well selected library as a present! Made my day…

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    • Ste J

      19/07/2013 at 18:07

      The best presents are the ones that are carefully selected and long lasting. I think I made Christina’s and it is a bonus to make your day as well. it would have been double the books if I had had more money…there was just to much choice.

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  13. LuAnn

    24/07/2013 at 13:33

    I absolutely love this post and the photo of Christina. One particular phrase you wrote that I feel is most worthy of mention is “words polished by your eyes”. This phrase so aptly describes a beloved well-worn book that has been pored over time and time again.

    Your post brought forth intimate memories of my dear friend Barb who passed away after a very debilitating 12-year illness. Her body was ravaged by a rare genetic disorder that presented much like ALS. She slowly lost the use of her limbs. Being a gifted artist and musician, this was particularly devastating, but her love of books, and no longer being able to turn the pages by herself, was the most heart-wrenching for her. Some of my fondest memories were times when we just sat and I would read to her, then we would have some very enlightening discussions about said topic. I must say, this is one of my favorite posts of yours Ste J. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      24/07/2013 at 20:14

      I am exceedingly touched that I could invoke such lovely memories for you, although I am sure they are bitter sweet as well. Reading to someone is such a gift, an intimate interaction, one that is beautiful. Further proof, as if it were needed, that you are awesome in all ways even rhino lassoing, although that one has yet to be confirmed.

      Christina is shy, bless her so this was the only one I was allowed to post, on pain of injury when I pop back over. I’m sure she was only half joking though….

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      • LuAnn

        24/07/2013 at 23:05

        Rhino lassoing…hmmm…will have to work a bit on that one. 🙂

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        • Ste J

          25/07/2013 at 15:24

          I think you should let your natural talent shine through.

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          • LuAnn

            26/07/2013 at 11:25

            Not sure what that is yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s not lassoing rhinos. 😉

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    • shiningstar85

      09/08/2013 at 18:22

      sorry to interrupt but I can relate to this lu Ann. my mum is reading me life of pi and mountains of the mind, and I mainly listen to audiobooks but I can read bits from time to time. sorry to hear of your loss.

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  14. Kate is

    29/07/2013 at 02:46

    Yes. I do understand. I swear they touch back.

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    • Ste J

      29/07/2013 at 17:35

      Now that would be the perfect book…I would leave the house a lot less if they did that…having said that it does make me sound a bit creepy, although I prefer the term alternately minded.

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      • Kate is

        29/07/2013 at 23:36

        haha, I don’t leave the house as it is. You’re right, we’d never get out.

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        • Ste J

          30/07/2013 at 17:43

          Houses are great, the keep all our books from getting wet…why would we want to leave!

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  15. Anonymous

    09/08/2013 at 18:18

    very funny…both yours and Christina’s choices are to my taste as you prob already know.

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    • Ste J

      11/08/2013 at 08:27

      I have an idea our tastes are very similar…that is assuming you are whom I think you are…either way I will claim you are anyway because I am awesome like that…and never wrong of course…and humble.

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  16. readinpleasure

    16/08/2013 at 18:08

    Hmm, I have lot s of books in boxes at home. And these are the old ones. The new ones are piled in cabinets in my office and at home and I feel awed any time I get close. It feels such a sin to even open and start reading them, for fear I will make them dirty. And Ste J, this is real for me. I am not good at photography or I would have posted pictures of my books that I am worshiping!

    BTW, Christina is such a lovely woman 🙂

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    • Ste J

      17/08/2013 at 17:06

      Aye, that she is my good friend hehe!

      I think you should take some photos anyway, it would be interesting to see all your books through your eyes…you do create some lovely images with thoughts of all the books piled up, it sounds intoxicating…I get your feeling of awe though, it’s be great to hear about some of your books though!

      Like

       

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