There's nothing unusual about me buying books but the way I have started to make my choices is becoming odd to say the least. The last five or six books that I've picked up have more or less picked me but it wasn't until yesterday that I realised what was happening.
It's not unusual on any given evening of the week to find me heading towards the coffee shop that lives within the book shop. These are two things that should go together far more frequently than they do. If Waterstones could take a leaf out of the Book of Borders and also sell magazines instead of joke pencils and balls that bounce incredibly high, you would probably find me there a lot more often.
Anyway, I walked into the book shop and stood more or less in the middle of it, turning a full circle on the spot. I see the book. The book sees me. It's not placed out on a table, it's right up on a top shelf and by the door which is not the greatest of places to be for a casual observer. That said, a casual observer, I am not. I walk over to introduce myself to the book and I find that it's not one book at all, but four books in a slip case. I have blown £30 on dumber things and before I know it, it's in my hand and doesn't want to leave.
We are going home together.
The box set/book(s) in question is/are collectively called Elsewhere and looks like this:
Not particularly a cover that I would normally gravitate to, but somebody has tried to get the box out of the cellophane and given up. I finish the job off and tip the books out to take a better look being as I'm going to buy it anyway. Four beautiful hardbacks fall out of the case. Inside, I find stories laid out with love - this is some great book design. I find stories of such an eclectic nature, how could I possibly ever tire of picking any one of them up and getting lost within?
I inspect the package a little closer and discover, it's a project from McSweeney's. There's some kind of association going on with Cargo - who also have discounted copies of each individual book right now but are sold out of the box set.
I have to ask myself though - why? Why this one? Why didn't a crime thriller I could chew up overnight jump from the shelf and bite me on the head. Why not one of the books hand-picked by my friendly local Waterstones staff and placed on a table so that I can't possibly miss it as soon as I walk in?
Because sometimes, that's just the way things happen.
So... if you might be looking for something to leave around the house and look clever with or perhaps you might even looking for something to read and enjoy - Elsewhere, in any of its variants, is a lovely choice.
Was that a book review? Not really, but I still meant every word.