On the weekend, I escaped.
B's mother was in town and while everyone was busy weeding the garden (super family fun!), I took the opportunity to get the hell out – under the guise of "shopping for dinner".
I was actually going to buy some ingredients for dinner but before that, I figured I'd set myself up in a little cafe with a sandwich and a notebook to jot down some ideas for future blogs. Dedication and relaxation rolled into one.
Instead, I spent almost 45 minutes and exactly the same number of dollars in a bookshop.
I love books so, naturally, I love a bookshop although I don't spend much time in them anymore. And if the recent collapse of bookshop giants like Borders and The Book Depository are anything to go by, neither does anyone else.
And maybe that explains why this bookshop, one of those makeshift stores erected cheaply in order to move merchandise speedily, was offering all books for $5.
I nearly died when the sales assistant answered my query as to why none of the books had marked prices by pointing to the multiple giant signs proclaiming "ALL BOOKS $5!"
My non-committal browsing was instantly converted into frenzied bargain-hunting.
For in amongst some of the usual bargain-priced suspects you'd expect to find in discount book stores were some big name titles, titles I actually wanted to read.
In spite of all evidence suggesting that the printed word is a dying animal, I love books.
Ipads be damned. Give me a book, newspaper or magazine – hell, give me a flyer. Intrinsically linked with my joy of reading is the tactile nature of the experience. I want to touch the book, feel its weight, the texture of the paper, rub it between my fingers mindlessly as I prepare to turn each page.
Books are heaven. Satisfyingly tangible heaven.
A friend recently shared her excitement at being gifted a Kindle. Wouldn't she miss books? I wondered. Yes, she said, but then again, books were expensive and she was running out of shelf room to store the books she already had.
My stepdad was delighted when Mum bought him an e-reader recently. For a fraction of the price of an actual bound book, he could download an e-book and there it was, instantly, ready to read.
I kind of get it. I haven't bought a CD for years mainly because storing them is a pain in the arse and also because having kids has meant I almost never listen to my own music anymore. Sad but true.
But that hasn't stopped me buying books. In fact, where my 20s were defined by the music I bought, my 30s are all about books. My dream is an overflowing wall of books; maybe a room dedicated solely to words on paper; shelves stacked from floor to ceiling; one of those ladders that slides back and forth.
I like collecting books but I rarely reread them. In fact, the only book I know I've read more than once was To Kill A Mockingbird and also, the dirty bits out of a romance novel my mum let me buy when I was fourteen. But it's nice to know that if I wanted to, I could. In the recent moving house cull, I found it impossible to 'goodwill' any of my books. On the one hand, I was pretty sure I wouldn't read many of them again but on the other, what if my kids wanted to read them some day?
And then there's my obsession with buying books for the kids.
My name is Angie and I am a book hoarder.
But happily, I discovered I am not the only one who loves books. At $5 a pop, it seems everyone wants a piece of the action. Sure, people love a bargain but then, I've never seen crowds like that in The Reject Shop. This joint was packed.
Because books are awesome.
I finally left the bookshop with a bag full of bargain treasures and sat down in that little cafe with sandwich and notebook at the ready. But as I sat, eating and making notes, my mind kept drifting back to a book I'd seen and with disappointment, realised I'd just read and returned to the library. It was silly to buy it when I'd already read it and so recently. But it was only $5. And I had really enjoyed it. And also, I don't think Mum has read it yet….
Of course I went back and bought it. Silly you!