Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Folded World

I bought a book today.

I bought a book today in a way that is becoming more and more unusual--in fact, I can't remember buying a book in this way for several years. Even when I'm merely browsing these days, I know what I ought to be looking for.

I had never heard of this book before. I had never heard of its author. I merely saw its spine--a singular spine, at that--on a shelf at the bookstore and since I liked first, its color, then second, its title, I pulled it out to take a look.

I liked the cover, so I turned it over to read that back. Unsigned blurbs from Kirkus, The Providence Journal and the LA Times. Encouraged by the "flavor of Lorrie Moore,"a Kirkus reviewer had found in the author, I opened the book and read the first paragraph. I liked it.

I carried the book with me as I wandered through the rest of the shelves. Periodically I opened it and read a bit of dialogue, a line or two from the lengthier paragraphs.

After noticing that a character is reading the Combray section of Swann's Way, I took the book to the front of the store and purchased it.

When I come home from the bocce tournament this evening, I'm going to ignore the stacks of library books and all my other books and begin reading it.

Because I should trust my own browsing instincts more often.


  1. That's exactly the kind of experience I was referring to when I wrote about Book Seredipity the other day, except your description is so much more effective. Trust your browsing instincts. Enjoy the book.

  2. Beautifully stated...and an experience that I have all too seldom these days. Thanks for reminding me to go with my instincts more instead of relying so much on the word of others. :-)

  3. Anonymous6:34 PM

    What a lovely book - I love the cover. I often buy books just based on their cover calling to me and usually am happy I did! Wonderful post!

  4. Anonymous10:58 PM

    That's a great cover! You just described almost exactly how I generally shop in a bookstore, though I find myself more and more these days coming armed with a list of specific books. There are advantages to shopping both ways!

  5. I love browsing! This one has an interesting title and a lovely cover and a character reading...sounds like a winner!

  6. I read more than 50 pages in it last night and am enjoying it immensely. I'll probably be posting some excerpts from it in a day or so. :)

  7. Anonymous9:59 AM

    There is a joy in discovering a book like that. Have a great read!

    BlueRectangle Books

  8. That is the only way I find books. This might be why I have lost my reading, no easily browsed library. Next month, I will live near one again, and I hope the books find me then. That one you have would catch me, certainly.

  9. I love this kind of bookfinding by chance. This book looks great, I agree. Can't wait to hear more about it from you, because I've never heard of it either!

  10. I hope it's the best book you read all year!

  11. Anonymous5:23 PM

    You made me feel tingly with aniticipation. Can't wait to hear if the book lives up to the joy of its discovery. Sounds like it might be so far!

  12. I would've run to the register as soon as I saw the blurb mentioning Lorrie Moore. Let us know how you like the book!

  13. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Oh, I love choosing books this way! I find that you can often find a book you like just by doing what you described; opening it and reading bits and pieces. I don't have the time any more to wander around in a bookstore and really explore what is there, but as the kids get older I know I will be able to do it again. And I loved the excerpt from the novel you chose. Isn't it gratifying to make such a find on your own? Like treasure hunting!


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