One of the things I miss about (book) blogging and reading book blogs regularly is my now-lack of information about the "bestest" new book I could get my hands on. Or something to that effect. I think it's one of the bonds I severed, sort of, when I hibernated from this venue.
This became palpable the other day, after leaving work early and passing by one of the bigger bookstores in the metro and found myself at a loss somewhere in the middle of aisles and aisles of books. That has never happened, not to me at least. I go to a bookstore and I hear titles and authors rattling at the back of my head, practically yelling "Pick me!" "Choose me!" "Try me!" Books and authors that left their mark after reading about them in a book blog. Books loved or scorned by book blogging friends.
The other day I was flummoxed. I know authors, yes. I know titles, yes. I saw a lot of new books. I saw a lot of old ones. I didn't know what to buy or if I should buy. Like I said, it has never happened before. To say that I made a hasty retreat is an understatement.
It's not that I want to be "in" on books that are popular nowadays. The other day I was just reminded that at times I need guidance. I know that I have a lot of books, most of them unread. I know that there are great ones there in the pile, stories adored by others I could not believe myself even for neglecting them up to now. I recognize that what I'm actually reading now is practically light fare and I'm planning on a meatier story sometime soon.
But the other day I was looking for comfort: the comfort of knowing what is actually out there. I missed that. Going to a bookstore with a plan in mind. Even in my occasional unplanned sojourns I have this idea of getting something to fit what I want. A couple of weeks ago I picked a book of essay because I need short snippets of everyday life. Last weekend I picked up and easily devoured two graphic novels. But the other day in the bookstore, I was afraid of not knowing: what's new, what's good, what's recommended, what's not. And I ran.
I look back at that and write about it. Because next time I'm not running away. Comfort zones are always welcome. But now I realized that you learn more, you live more when you're not in it. Ergo, I'm embracing the newness of not knowing, in books and in life.
[And may the Fates be kind to me.]