It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a Barnes and Noble gift card must be in want of many books.
Yesterday, I spent an hour before I was to meet my friend browsing about the myriad shelves and tables and displays of books at Barnes and Noble. I saw so many books I did not want to buy:
Battles of the Medieval World
1000 Tattoos of True Love
Gaga: A Photo Album
Bayonets: An Illustrated History
I searched for Thirkells but there were none to be found; not a Sylvia Townsend Warner among the fiction; no Collette.
I wandered aimlessly into the children's department looking for hardcover copies of Laura Ingall's Little House books. Zero.
My friend arrived. We went to have our 'buy one get one free cookie.' Unfortunately there was only one chocolate chunk chip delicacy left. We were told to try back in 20 minutes or so as the guy behind the counter was getting ready to bake another batch.
We left the store and went to lunch. We came back. Again I wandered from shelf to shelf. My friend understood my dilemma: I didn't want to fritter away my $25 gift card.
I needed to take myself firmly in hand. Finally, I made a decision and purchased five hardcover editions of Jane Austen novels: Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.
These are B&N Classic editions with lovely covers that were on sale. I paid a mere four dollars for each book.
You notice there is no Pride and Prejudice. Well, there wasn't a copy to be found. That's OK. P&P is the only Austen book I have read. (When I got home I located a copy of the same edition at Abe Books, so I can complete my set.)
Now here is the rub. I hope I like Ms. Austen! If I remember correctly, I had a few false starts before I finally finished P&P. In any event, these volumes will look beautiful sitting on my shelf as I read my way through them.
We finally did get our cookies and sat in the cafe watching other shoppers wander about the huge store looking dazed and confused.
In the end, here is what I know about myself and book buying:
I thrill to the chase; I much prefer digging around in a used bookshop being surprised by treasures unsought -- books I didn't even know I wanted.
Dust be damned.