A couple of weeks back, I popped into Buy the Book, a used bookstore near work, and ended up with 9 books; a subsequent visit to Powerbooks and Fully Booked saw three new books in my pile. If there was such a thing as Books Anonymous, I'd definitely have had to call my sponsor.
As of today, I no longer have any new books to read. I finished the last one this afternoon, and am now faced with picking up some books that I never finished a few months ago or re-reading books.
Most of the books I galloped through were not very good, they would fit into the category of mystery potboilers, written in relatively hackneyed fashion. 4 of the books were by the same author, who I will avoid like the plague for being one of the worst writers I've ever had to skim through.
Finishing up the last book today, I felt like I had mental heartburn. Like a bad burp that needed releasing. Reading all those books in a short time, averaging a book a day, felt like I was on a summer retreat without the benefit of being by the beach, sipping a tropical cocktail with an umbrella. I know I have to return to reading something with relative weight and strong writing to shake the feeling of fogginess. I know there's a copy of something by Joseph Conrad somewhere in my stacks.
Buying books, I have come across a lot of different kinds of booksellers, particularly among used booksellers. I prefer those who don't bug you, ask or offer to help if you need it, but mostly keep their opinions to themselves unless you ask them for suggestions. I remember one seller in Philadelphia who was kind enough to offer a stool when he saw I was seated on the floor going through the stacks. And when I finally went to pay for books, he and his partner pointed a few more books to look at which gave me more reason to wile away the afternoon. And there's Pendragon books in San Francisco, where I've found hard to find books with the help of their professional and outstanding bookcrew.
Unfortunately, a local bookseller doesn't seem to understand that customers need space. At a local farmer's market, there's a stall that sells used books, the owners (a husband and wife team) hound you when you try to look at their wares. The husband will tell you (over your shoulder) when he bought the book, when he read it, and what he thinks about it. If I were rude, I might turn to him and say "Do you think I care?" but I am not about to do that. He will then point out that if you buy one book, they'll throw in 2 books for free (all for the convenient price of P500 for the bundle). As you try to escape from the harangue, he will then point out the other things they sell, pottery, jewelry, and herbal tonics. The hard sell, I don't buy it.