I just got back from a few hours at Chapters. This trip has been long in coming, since December 28th, when I got my gift certificate from my boss. And yes, I spent a few hours! Colin was bored after less than one hour, and this is why I really should go alone. But he does enjoy buying books as well, and that is always something I feel I should encourage.
First, I forgot my list, which is always bad news because I’m so easily distracted. Of course, I could hardly remember what was on it, and to my disappointment (but not surprise), most of what I did remember wasn’t on the shelves. I find this often. Maybe I just don’t read or favour what the general public does?
Within less than twenty minutes, I had an armful of books I needed to sort through, and a heck of a time trying to decide what not to put in my arms as well. In the end, I made a rule that I buy only paperback, which I prefer anyway, so any new ones that aren’t out yet in paperback shall have to wait. The conundrum is that I fall behind on what’s current, but such is my life. (I tend to live under a rock when it comes to current events, too.)
In the end, having Colin do the math about six times for different piles of books, I decided it wasn’t a big deal if we went $60 over. I pulled out my Chapters card, a coupon for $5 off, and my $100 gift card to pay. And then the extra sixty.
Here is what I purchased, and I’m quite happy with what I chose:
1. The Bedside Book of Birds – Graeme Gibson, which is an absolutely stunning collection of artwork and literary pieces about or including birds. It’s a gorgeous book. Though its companion, The Beside Book of Beasts, is 30% off right now, I want to have both of them in softcover, so I decided to wait on it.
2. Happiness – Will Ferguson. This is a hilarious novel (which is what you must expect from a Stephen Leacock Award winner) about a self-help book that actually works. What is special about my copy is that it is the Penguin Celebration version, the classic, beautiful simple orange and white edition (“orange for fantastic fiction”). I would love to blow up the cover and frame it. In fact, why not? I’m going to see if I somehow can. Penguin has always been one of my favourite publishers, alongside Random House, and while I carry the penguin on my key chain (a gift from a book rep), the logo certainly deserves a place on my walls as well. (Hmmm. Should Biblio have a special Penguin edition section? I think so!)
3. Nicolski – Nicholas Dickner. I’ve been eyeing up this book since it came out in 2005. Later it won the Governor General’s Award and soon it will be discussed on the upcoming Canada Reads program. I decided not to wait to hear it be defended and instead finally went with my gut.
4. Books Do Furnish a Room – Leslie Geddes-Brown. A Merrell coffee table book filled with beautiful pictures of rooms furnished with books. I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. Books make a room, and I still revel in the difference in atmosphere in our living room since I dismantled my little library to create a wall of books. As Cicero so aptly said, “A room without books is as a body without a soul.”
The books are wonderful and I’m excited about reading them. But I also came away with a special and lovely simple white tea mug, no handle (as I prefer), complete with strainer and lid, by Tea Forte, the most breathtaking tea vendor I’ve come across. I want to own everything they sell. (In fact, if Biblio can carry their line, I’d be very happy!)
I was just as excited about this cup as I was my books and couldn’t wait to brew tea so I could enjoy it in my new purchase. When we got home, though, and I opened the box, I discovered the mug was chipped. I’m still raging about it. I know I can return it but that’s beside the point! I’m so disappointed, and I’m also a bit of a child: when I want something, I want it now. I don’t want to wait to get a new one (but I’m going to)! It just took away some of the pleasure, if you know what I mean. I really hate getting home to discover something wrong with what I bought. My coffee table book has a banged up spine on the bottom but I’m all right with it, it’s minor, and my books aren’t perfect. But the mug, well, that does have to be perfect. It’s not as though Chapters is just down the street, either; it’s kind of a pain to drive there. But I will anyway, probably tomorrow. The anticipation of enjoying such a cup with my new books is too great not to go.