This past weekend I took a ramble through the local Barnes & Noble store. The majority of my book purchases are made online, but I had a gift card and the store was right there, so in I went.
My first stop was the clearance section (and not just because I was raised in a very frugal family). The section is such a varied mix of books and subjects that something almost always catches my eye. I was tempted by the Tabletop Catapult: Build Your Own Siege Engine! – I figured I could have hours of fun using it to launch ping-pong balls for the cat to chase while learning about siege warfare – but managed to resist. I picked up Royal Britain instead, an encyclopedic history of Britain’s rulers and, more importantly, castles and houses and historic buildings. With over 1,000 colour pictures! Be still my Regency writing, Britain fancying, history loving heart.
The rest of the clearance section paled by comparison, so I left it behind and continued on to the romance section for my standard hopeful search for new books by my favourite authors that I might have somehow missed. No luck there, but as I was walking to the cash register via the “fiction & literature” section a book caught my eye: The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, by Julia Stuart. One blurb on the back proclaimed that “history buffs, animal lovers, and simply the tenderhearted will swoon over this captivating story” while another called it “a marvelous confection of a book.” It was the second blurb that caught me, reeled me in, and convinced me to give the book a try.
Both books that I picked up could have easily been purchased online had I known I was looking for them, but I didn’t know they existed until I physically saw them on the shelf. There are a number of ways readers find new books / authors – recommendations from friends, best seller lists, publisher promotions, social media posts – but sometimes it can be fun to roam a physical store and see what catches your eye. Maybe, like me, you’ll find something you didn’t even know you were looking for.
My trip to a traditional brick and mortar bookstore was a success. I walked out with two new books that it is unlikely I would have found otherwise. Plus the store validated my parking (that’s $3 right there). A double win.
So, what’s in your To-Be-Read pile and how did it get there?