Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shopping Around

At the end of last year, I did a post about my fear that Barnes & Noble might not be around for much longer.  In that post, I spoke of my love for spending all day in a bookstore, but it occurred to me that I've never said anything about what I do while in that bookstore.  Therefore, I've decided to walk through what I typically do if I have all day.

The first thing I do is hit the magazine rack.  I'll go through the current event periodicals - Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report - so that I can get up to date(not that the internet keeps me out of touch, but sometimes there's something to reading a magazine as opposed to just looking at it online...come to think of it, that applies to a lot of what I look at).  I'll then move on to my highbrow reading - Maxim, Sports Illustrated, etc - so my mind can relax.  After that, I'll go from rack to rack picking up various pieces, from Log Homes Illustrated to Writers Digest.

Then it's time to hit the books, so I head straight for the sci-fi section.  Yes, I'll write all kinds of things, but my reading tastes tend to get focused on sci-fi.  I've loved the far flung worlds and out there scenarios since I was a kid, and it was my first foray into writing as well.  I'll first look at the authors I know - Turtledove, Foster, Zahn - to see if they have anything new.  Then, assuming I have time, I'll try to browse the rest of them more closely.

I admit that covers and titles draw me.  A novel that has either a great cover or a title that intrigues me will draw me into reading the blurb on the back cover.  I discard at least 70% of what I read at this point because what I read rarely matches my expectations from either the cover or title.  However, some will draw me into reading the first chapter.  After a page or two, I'll again discard over 50% of what I read because...well...most writers suck.  Sorry, but it takes compelling storytelling to keep me reading, and getting picked up by a publishing house is no guarantee that someone knows how to do that.

If I'm still into the book at that point, I'll try to find a place to be a bum.  If I can find a chair of some kind, I'm in heaven, but I'm just as comfortable sitting on the floor(of course, the challenging part of this is either employees telling you not to sit there or other customers daring to want to look at the shelves themselves).  If I don't have time to read the entire book(which I rarely do), or I want to spend more time with it, I'll put it on my "buy" list.  That doesn't mean that I won't read a great deal, though.

Sometimes I'll just scan a book because, although interesting, it isn't worth my buying since I can get the general gist from just flipping through.  I've read many books like this, and it can be a great joy, although I know many authors would prefer I just buy the damn thing.

After sci-fi, I'll move on to humor(I've got to be careful in the sci-fi section because books not at eye level are good too, so you really have to get low sometimes).  I'll see if there's a new Zits sketchbook, as well as any other funny books that might catch my eye.  Yes, a bit on the child side, but we all have our quirks.

Finally, I hit the current events/political section.  Lots of books in there hold my interest, although I don't want to go into them here for various reasons.  I don't often buy books in this section since most are an easy scan from which I can get most of what I'm looking for.  I might also step into the religion or New Age section, but that's only about every third or fourth trip.

If I have books to buy, I take them up.  Otherwise, I just walk out, find something to eat, and feel happy about my perfect day.  How do you browse?

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