I swear I can metamorphose into a stark raving lunatic whenever I find myself in the wondrous confines of a bookstore. As a result of my slightly unconventional behavior, I suspect that a few sales assistants at MPH would secretly give their proverbial right arm for the privilege of duct-taping my lips shut – and for keeping them so sealed until the dawn of the apocalypse.
But it’s nothing personal, it’s just books.
Living in this quirky (but ever so real world) that exists in my head, I often help (read: on my own initiative) rearrange books in MPH, Borders, Kinokuniya and independent bookstores according to their respective genres and author’s names. I believe that this is the least I could do in return for them allowing me to read their precious books for free. However, I don’t think the storeowner is even aware (or approves) of this arrangement.
When occasion warrants it, I also would write disgruntled emails detailing a shop’s seeming lack of soul in selling books. At times, I would also call to ask them the most inane of questions about their new arrivals and bestsellers lists.
Sorry for being pedantic, but this world can’t move on its rightful axis when a giant bookstore labels its shelves like this:
I once asked a book assistant at – I should refrain from naming; let’s avoid litigation shall we? – regarding the whereabouts of Theroux’s latest title, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. For my troubles, I was confronted with the assistant’s overconfident, “Oh, that’s in Astronomy’s section please”. And I suppose 84 Charing Cross Road would therefore be in the – let’s see – maps section?
Spare me the torture, dear friends. Please take a knife and deliver unto me an untimely death so I can fly to the Utopia of books where the ignorant and non-book-lovers are denied entry.
Through the years, I find myself raving on the same topic for years – what more with the advent of social media platform where over-sharing is considered the new black. Here’s an example, I once tweeted the Prime Minister about the ridiculously exorbitant book prices in this country. No, let me be honest – I tweeted him about 10 times. The busy man, however, has never replied.
Now, I will take matters into my own hands. My friend (read: the poor financier) and I will open our own bookstore. No, it is not my intention to give Amazon.com a run for its money. My aspirations are of a much humbler nature: I just want to share with you books that can challenge, move and maybe perhaps even steal a permanent place in your heart.
If I were a trust fund baby, I would have opened something like this yesterday:
Alas, since life has plans on its own (often quite independent from mine), I will instead start with something like this to appease this hunger for sharing books.
In the meantime, I will start reviewing books deemed fit for sharing in Book Snob on a weekly basis. When the website is launched to all and sundry, I pray for your support. And if you were to ask what kind of bookshop it will be, I will answer, “It’s simply a place where good books meet”.
Let’s start with some gems from our neighboring country, shall we?