I’m coining a new phrase: book stalking.
Okay, maybe I’m not the first to use that particular phrase, but I’m still going to claim it as my own.
And I bring it up because I did exactly that yesterday: I stalked readers in the local Barnes and Noble to determine what books they are reading.
Now, before I end up in trouble with some law enforcement agency for using the word “stalking” in an online context, let me explain. It is now early July and my friend, E, and I are both steadily making our way through our Beach Blanket Book Bingo cards (see a previous post on this topic). I am four books in – just starting Book 5 on my card today – and having as much fun tracking down books that fit the card’s stipulations as I am reading them.
E is having a good time as well.
But she and I both were getting stumped on the square, “that you saw someone else reading.” For me, as a public transportation commuter, I see an inordinate amount of eReaders on my treks to and from work. Kind of hard to determine what folks are reading when there’s no cover involved. And I could try spying over their shoulder, but this is the subway / train system in Los Angeles. Somehow I don’t think my fellow commuters are going to respond too well to someone leaning on them, breathing in their ear, and trying to invade their reading bubble. There’s too much of that going on without the invader being a graduate of the social rehab programs (aka County lock-up). As for E, she admits the only book she has seen others reading is A Game of Thrones, which we both have read already, so she concocts a brilliant plan: stop by a bookstore and spy on other shoppers.
She had me at “bookstore.”
Plus what could be more fun than to sneak around our favorite sections hoping a fellow shopper picks up something we want to read anyway? Because let’s be honest here – E and I both have more than enough books we’re anxious to read. The fun in this exercise was trying to pick one of these waiting-to-be-read gems to apply to this particular square on our bingo cards.
But first: brunch. Book stalking was going to require some sustenance.
Then, with our boys in tow, we headed to the Barnes and Noble, where book stalking almost immediately devolved into book browsing. I tried to spy on other readers. I really did. There was a tall young woman wandering through the Sci Fi / Fantasy section, and I tried to glimpse the book she was holding …. but then I got distracted by all the books on the shelves in front of me.
As did E by the way, and we fell into an “oooo, have you read this one yet? It is sooo good,” and “oh my gosh, you have to read this one – such a great book,” pattern entirely too quickly. At one point, E pulled The Rook by Daniel O’Malley from the shelf, and proclaimed, “I LOVE this book. I am obsessed with this book.” I took one look at the back cover, and the prospect of reading about a supernatural warrior who wakes up in a London park surrounded by dead bodies, and in a new body that is not her own, was too compelling to pass up. And with E raving about it, I had to have it.
So what did we do?
Now for E’s book.
We browsed together – I recommended The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson – but then she found a book she has been wanting to read forever: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. Naturally, then, I returned the favor she granted me for The Rook.
Awww … book stalking. It’s hard work, I tell ya. That’s why after making our purchases (and, if that’s not enough, we each bought two books), we headed out for ice cream. We needed to replenish our energy.