Sunday, 27 June 2010

shopping the shelves

Today I returned a dress, and bought some books. I always feel there is something inherently superior about buying a book over buying a garment. Books don't make you feel fat, or frivolous, or unsatisfied with what you've got, because you don't have anything which matches the new book. When you buy a book, you feel intellectual, like you've made an investment in something (education? mind? future? general well-being?) and complete, for the time being.

I didn't buy the book I set out with the intention of buying, even though I am sure I will at some point. It looked a bit thin and so I was loathe to spend the money on a hardback, even though the cover is pretty cool. I am curious if anyone has read it yet?

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis (the yellow casing on the right is sort of translucent, creating a shadow of a devil's silhouette. Suitably creepy)

I acknowledge that I am a sucker for a nice cover. There were some great classic covers on display, but I was again put off by the price, this time because on the back cover I could see they were charging a higher number in pounds than in dollars. Instead, I stuck to homegrown goods with yet another book by Scarlett Thomas. The design may be getting a bit gimicky (see past examples here and here), but I love it nevertheless. I bought this book despite the fact that I didn't enjoy the last one I read quite so much - I am hoping that was because I read what was then her latest book first, and then her first book next (does that make any sense?), so her writing seems to have improved with time. I am hoping this upwards trend will continue with Our Tragic Universe.

In contrast, I am currently nearing the end of a Penguin Classic (Return of the Native), whose cover leaves much to be desired. I'll forgive that, because the story's so great. But it's ironic really, that the story which so far has proved the most durable, has the least durable cover of all.

I really didn't think I was treating the book badly enough to warrant that much damage.

Here's a tip for you if you're not fussed about pristine book covers/your books also end up as above: when you choose a book, have a look through all the copies on display and see if any of the covers are damaged. So far, Waterstones have given me a pound off every damaged book I have bought off them. And when I say damaged, I mean really just a tiny tear or bit of scruffiness.

Said scruffiness. Can you see it? Also, John Steinbeck was hot.

Anyway, there it is, my 'shopping haulage', with a minor difference not normally seen on 'style blogs'. I apologise if all this was incredibly boring to you, because I suppose looking at book covers doesn't provide quite the same inspirational experience that a complete outfit or garment or photograph can. Of course, the words inside matter a lot. I just happen to enjoy the shopping part too.


  1. I just read Imperial Bedrooms today and I feel fat, frivolous and filthy. I'd rather buy a dress!

  2. Some books I can do old and scruffy and some I can't. Some I have to be the first to read. I can't exactly explain why. I guess some books need to be *mine* and some I feel like I can share with others. I am still not making much sense, am I?

    The last Easton Ellis book I read was American Psycho.I feel I sure I got his book at a library.

    Books are NEVER boring. As you say, books are for cool people!!!

  3. Wendy, I take it that's not a recommendation?