So I finally relented and bought myself a new laptop or to judge by its size, ‘palm-top’ and as it’s been more than two months since posting, thought it worth the while using the opportunity to test out the Asus Eee Pc.
Shamed at very nearly relenting – solely because of price – and very nearly buying a book in Tesco (I didn’t but the opening passages to Garth Stein’s ‘The Art of Racing in The Rain’ are jaw-dropping and incredibly, the book is even cheaper on Amazon) .
So, a trip to my local bookshop which in Swindon means doing the next best thing and going to Waterstones… and what a f*cking pig-sty. Is the manager on permanent vacation or what? And whatever happened to those over-paid box-tickers called ACOs? Most of the lights were on (there was at least one neon-strip bulb working in Fiction K-Z) but maybe it’s part of a strategy to hide the Dillons-era carpet. Anyway, the former bookshop manager doth protest too much, no shop where staff have to wear ‘uniform’ T-shirts was ever going to match an Indie.
So, nothing of interest front of shop (Katie f*cking Price as ‘Book of the Week’ – which f*cking moron in marketing thought that was suitable for a bookshop promo? Most likely, some idjit thinking with his dick when he was invited to a publisher party…) and no lighting to speak of in the middle of fiction, so I work my way to the classics at the end. First book I pick up is by Fernando Pessoa, a writer who’d caught my eye after reading the article online at Guardian Unlimited this morning and guess what? It’s faulty and has a load of pages missing but ‘hats off’ for actually having something interesting on the shelf. It wasn’t only me that struggled to find something interesting/ what I was looking for… there was the guy who couldn’t find Conn Iggulden where he expected (tip: on the floor).
It took a good while to find something that wasn’t bog-standard, boring or a ‘classic’ (more Austen, anyone? I’m sure someone at Random House must be despairing that Richard Yates’ recently repackaged Vintage Classics are filed with Penguin ‘Black’ Classics rather than where they’re more likely to be picked-up but hey-ho, the manager must be on extended leave or something and at least they’re in-stock).
After a long trawl, I did come out with some stuff: Per Petterson’s, ‘In the Wake’ because I loved ‘Out Stealing Horses’; Yoko Ogawa’s ‘The Diving Pool’; Chingiz Aitmatov’s, ‘Jamilia’ because it had previously been recommended and James Hopkin’s ‘Even The Crows Say Krakow’ which is one of the Picador Shots, a series of short stories for £1.99 each. Strange to think that that’s the first time I’ve bought anything from a Waterstones in 12 years – since I graduated essentially – and back when a Waterstones looked more like a bookshop and less like a shit-tip staffed by three part-timers not yet old enough to drink (legally).
In another episode of relenting/ refusing to shop on Amazon or in Tesco, I bought some music in HMV but didn’t actually enjoy the experience. Next time, the web…