Friday, February 06, 2009

Monday Musings on Friday & a Look At What the Postman Dragged In

This week's Musings Monday question:
How do you choose what do buy from your local bookstore? Do you have a list, or just browse? What is the selection in your book store like? Do you find what you're looking for? Do you feel pressured to buy the kind of books the store makes prominent? (question courtesy of MizB)
My favorite time to visit a bookstore is within the first hour that it opens. Usually on a week day, if possible. The store is quiet and the lunch time rush is still a couple of hours away. Coming in at a close second are evening visits with my husband. Maybe we have just gotten finished enjoying dinner at a nearby restaurant or are on our way home from the movies. It could be a Friday night or the weekend. The bookstore is usually crowded at those times; the atmosphere is much more charged than my morning visits when everything seems so calm and peaceful.

I prefer to walk into the store with a list of books I am specifically looking for. A mental list works alright, but often times I do better when I write my list down ahead of time. With a TBR collection as big as mine, I sometimes forget which books I actually may have, and so a list is safer. I am more likely to have a list with me on those morning trips than I am when I go with my husband. More often than not, the evening and weekend bookstore visits are spur of the moment. If I am lucky, I may remember an author or title I was curious about, but it's more likely I won't.

Regardless of whether I am armed with a list, I almost always take the time to browse through the bookstore. I take in the new releases, the new paperbacks, and the bargain tables and shelves. I may then wander over to the mystery/thriller section, take a stroll through the fantasy/science fiction aisles and end up in the fiction/literature rows after taking a peek at the nonfiction shelves. Sometimes I mix it up and start somewhere else.

A book may draw my eye for a variety of reasons: an attractive cover, a curious title, or the name of an author I'd been thinking of trying. But what really matters to me is what the book is about. That will be the determining factor in whether I decide to read the book or not. The only time I don't bother taking the time to see what a book is about before deciding to buy it is if it is by a favorite author, all of whose books I will read, or a part of a series I follow. Mostly likely, I already know what to expect in those instances.

There are times I may immediately decide on a book I find, taking it off the shelf as I make my way through the store. Other times I like to have a look around the entire store first, and then go back once I've had time to consider whether or not I want to take the plunge. I do not always find what I am looking for. And sometimes I may find a book I want, only to decide once I am at the bookstore holding it in my hands, that I do not actually want it quite yet.

When I walk out of a bookstore, I rarely come out empty handed. I have a bag of books in one hand and a list of books I want to learn more about in the other.

This week's Mailbox Monday goody:

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
by Tiffany Baker


  1. Going to the bookstore is my little treat to myself for being a good girl (clean house, clean pool, kids fed). I go early, like you, and I go all by myself. I rarely bring a list, but I usually have a few things in my mind that I intend to get. I do allow myself impromptu inspirational purchases, though! I never never walk out without a book. The other day, I intended to get "Resistance" by Owen Sheers (they didn't have it!) but walked out with a beautiful two book set of all of Jane Austin's works. It made my day!

  2. Sometimes I have a list, or at least one particular book I'm looking for, but browsing is always a part of the ritual. Unfortunately, I'm often overwhelmed by the choices available!

  3. I go in to the bookstore with a list, but usually come out with other books, too. Can't wait to read your thoughts on Still Alice.

  4. I loved your in-depth description of your bookstore trips. They sound a bit like mine, except for the list, although there might be a couple of titles I'm planning to look for.

    Hmm...maybe I should visit the bookstore this weekend :-)!

  5. I do sometimes go to the bookstore with a list but more often than not I don't. I normally buy online so my trips to the bookstore are to browse and take in the atmosphere. HOwever, like you, I don't think I've ever walked out without a few books in hand.

    I hope you enjoy Little Giant-I liked that one. I'm curious about The Book of Unholy Mischief. I've got that on my wishlist. I'll be watching for reviews whenever you get to them. I know how big the piles are. lol.

  6. I probably should take a list but I usually just go in and browse all the shelves. Occasionally I've picked up the paperback copy of a hardback book that's still sitting in my TBR pile. Ouch.

  7. The way you described your bookstore visits made me feel like I was right there along with you :D You are such a good writer.

  8. I love stores when they first open! Being one of the only people in a store is so relaxing to me. Unless I have only one or two books I'm after then I have to write a list of at least authors. You don't know how many times I've went to used bookstores and just been overwhelmed with the variety.

  9. I just put Dog On It on my wish list, so I'll look forward to your review of it.

  10. I am thankful my nearest book store has a limited variety. I can occasionally walk out with out a book in hand. However when interstate or overseas not a chance.It is the only time I enjoy shopping. friends go away and come back with clothes and shoes, I come back with books LOL

  11. I totally identified with you on how you go to the bookstore!! I go armed with a notebook so I can write down titles that sound interesting to me. I'm all over the place when I get in there. I love the possibilities that await me there!!!

    your mailbox looks good!!!

  12. I used to browse all over the bookstore, also, but I would start second guessing my book picks and actually put books back that I really wanted. Then I would leave empty-handed and disheartened. I know, it's weird. So now I do what my husband and I call "A Bookstore Blitzkrieg." We spend about 20 minutes, not including the time it takes to check-out, gathering the books we want, then head for the door. I always go with a list. As strange as it sounds, this really works for me. I'm not much for loitering or shopping - I like to get in, get what I need, and get out.

  13. What a great, entertaining post! I felt like I was there with you browsing. The only section you missed that I always go to and almost always buy from is the poetry section. I just can't resist.

  14. I'm right there with you in that I probably need a list simply because my TBR collection is so vast that I can't remember what I've got and what I don't. I used to think I had a good handle on it just within the confines of my memory, but now I'm beginning to doubt myself considering I picked up a few duplicates on my last trip to the library book sale (when I don't bother with a list or any particular notion of what I'm looking for - for lack of time and likelihood that I'll find anything in particular). Oh well, more books to give away to other readers, I suppose. :)

  15. "Regardless of whether I am armed with a list, I almost always take the time to browse through the bookstore."

    That's me also! I was at BookXcess yesterday armed with a list but I still browse through the entire store and managed to add a few extra titles to my intended purchases. I did postpone the buying of some the books on listing. I think flexibility is the keyword here. :)

    I really enjoy reading this post, Wendy!

  16. Sandy - Going by myself often means I come home with more books, I admit. I tend to use bookstore visits as rewards and pick-me-ups. Any excuse to visit one!

    Jenclair - It is easy to be overwhelmed with so many choices. I can't help but browse though.

    Kathy - It's hard not to when there are so many other books there worth reading.

    Florinda - I learned the hard way that a list helps keep me in line--and from getting duplicates. It's never a very long list. Well, not most of the time.

    Dar - I buy a lot of my books online too. It tends to be cheaper that way. But I do like the immediate gratification that a bookstore brings and the ability to wander the shelves looking for books. I don't usually take the time to browse through online bookstores.

    I'm really excited about reading the Little Giant book. I've heard such great things about it.

    Avis - Thank you so much!

    Carrie K - Especially lately it seems, I come across a paperback copy of a book I have in hardback. Ouch is right. I'm trying to be better about not buying in hardback--or at least going through the book club or remainder tables when I know I can get the book for cheaper than I would in paperback.

    Nymeth - Thank you! That's so kind of you to say.

    Jen - I find it very relaxing too. It's the best time to go, I think. It's so easy to get overwhelmed by all those wonderful books staring at us from the shelves.

    Cathy - I had never heard of it before and suddenly it shows up in my mailbox! I'm looking forward to reading it!

    Caspette - That sounds like me too--I always end up buying books when I am traveling. LOL

    Staci - It's an adventure all it's own, isn't it?

    Lolly - Bookstores and stationary stores are the only types of stores where I like to loiter. I'm not much of a shopper otherwise.

    Linda - Thank you! It's pathetic, I know, but I tend to only stop in the poetry section if I have something specific I'm looking for.

    Megan - I used to think I had a good memory too, but not so much anymore. I usually end up giving the duplicates away as well. :-)

  17. Alice - We can't get every book we want in one trip can we? And sometimes we need to research a title further, right? Flexibility is definitely the keyword here!

  18. I love taking my time to browse the bookstores. I hate to be rushed since most of the times I don't prepare a list and I could go through the shelves of books without feeling guilty that I'm taking up my family or friends's time.

    I will usually check out the new releases first the moment I step into the bookstores, followed by the promotions and the other shelves. And I'll definitely feel something is amiss if I come out of the bookstore empty handed. ;)

  19. Melody - I don't like to be rushed through a bookstore either, even with a list. :-) I like to take my time and take it all in.

  20. Wow! I could have written this exact post about visiting the bookstore!

    My husband and I often have "date night" at the bookstore on Tuesday nights. He checks out the periodicals to his little hearts content, and I ... well ... I do pretty much what you describe here!

  21. Terri - My husband's first stop in a bookstore is always the periodicals. :-) What a coincidence that your husband stops there too. We just got back from a little "date night" with a stop in at the bookstore before heading home. :-)

  22. I usually browse, but it's very rare that I go to the bookstore these days. Must keep the temptation to a minimum.

    Looks like you got some great books. Little Giant is in my TBR stack. Hope you enjoy them!

    Diary of an Eccentric


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