Monday Morning Grievance: Bookstore Blues

A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.

Terry Pratchett – Guards! Guards!

Monday Morning Grievances Logo 1

It’s Monday and I haven’t had my coffee.

I walk into the bookstore feeling like a god:

I have a $20 gift card.

I can buy anything.

{note: a real god could buy everything}

I come to terms with reality:

In all likelihood,

I can only purchase one thing.

Today I am here alone, and good thing too.

I have been known to spend hours in a bookshop,

Only to walk away empty-handed.

I had the money to purchase something;

in fact, Krystal said we should come here special to pick something out.

And while she’s picked out a few books, I just can’t make up my mind.

I always feel like the books I don’t pick judge me for abandoning them.

A student once asked what I would do with a million dollars.

First, I’d pay off all my debt.

Then. I would buy all the books on my TBR, and even some not on the list.

Third, I’d have to buy some shelving for all those books, but that’s OK.

But today I have time; I can be as indecisive as I want.

Heading to the Philosophy and History sections, I start to pull titles off the shelves:

Breakfast with Socrates

The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten

Selected Spiritual Writings of Søren Kierkegaard

Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar

The Vikings

Salt: A World History

Paper: Paging through History

The Invention of Murder

Why are the books I want all so expensive?

Not a single one is under $16, despite being smaller than the mass market paperbacks a few shelves over; you know, the ones selling for $7.99.

Oh, that’s right. These aren’t mass-market books; they’re for “specialized” readers.

You know, I’m a specialized reader, and I’d certainly read more if the prices came down!

Did you ever think of that, Mr. Market Analyst and Price-Setter?

Seriously, I’m a HS teacher with student loans;

I can’t afford to drop that kind of dough on every book I want to read.

I’m sure by now my local library is tired of me stuffing their suggestion box every other week with all the slips of paper I’ve compiled.

And so, to maximize my gift card, I head to those mass-market paperbacks I so recently ridiculed.

Using my Goodreads app, I look for likely candidates and settle on two:

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Martian by Andy Weir

Again with the prices!

There are two versions of Martian on the shelf:

one is the classic, original cover,

the other is the movie tie-in.

Same publisher, same number of pages, two different prices.

Seriously, the classic cover is about $4 more expensive than the movie tie-in cover.

As much as it pains me, guess which one I’m getting? The movie tie-in.

I can’t complain too much, though.

I am going home with two new books.

I still have 80¢ left on the gift card.

I saw a former student (my cashier, actually!) who asked for some book recommendations.

Always nice, to go into a bookstore and have the employees ask you for recommendations.

Not being sarcastic, by the way. I really do love it. We talked for half an hour or more.

Until next time, bookstore; ’til next time.

. . .

What’s annoying you today?

Oh, and I know today is Memorial Day here in the United States.

Somehow, I’m pretty sure those who died for my freedom would be 100% on board with me exercising my right to read what I choose.

If, somehow, you’re offended I didn’t do a “Memorial Day post”, you can read this poem I posted yesterday, or read these posts from past years:

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2015

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