30 July 2009

books to buy, as of July 2009 (part 2)

The title of this post is actually misleading because I went and actually bought the books already! Well, 3 out of the 4 books have been on my list for quite some time, so at least I'm able to cross them out from the ever-growing list in my notebook.

When I had renewed my Fully Booked discount card back in June, the customer service people gave me a 20% discount voucher which I could redeem before end of July. Whee! Book discounts = happiness.

The voucher was an excellent way to kick off what I'd call the book-buying season. August and September are my "Christmas months" because Powerbooks and Fully Booked (and sometimes Bibliarch) go on huge sales, and the annual Manila Book Fair is alway held around this period.

I imposed on myself, before stepping into the store this afternoon, a severe book-shopping price limit of Php 2,000. That would be the discounted price already. I was brimming with confidence, thinking, "Okay, I can do that. After all, I just need to browse for books that would amount to a total regular price of Php 2,500. That's roughly 4 to 5 books. I can do that!!"

Left the store 2 hours later after handing over Php 2,223 to the cashier.

Okay, so I went over my budget by Php 223. But that's fine, considering the long, internal struggle I had during those 2 hours in the store. I wanted to buy 7 books but I had to restrain myself and stick to my budget. This wasn't an entirely easy task; you're reading the blog entry of a girl who used to blow something like Php 5,000 at the bookstore every pay day. Of course, over the years, I've learnt to cut down my excessive book purchases and to valiantly ignore--as much as possible--the feeling of cold sweat breaking out all over my body every time I step foot inside a bookstore.

So here are the books that have officially kicked off Gina's book shopping season:

1. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien - Yes, I know, I know. I was supposed to have bought this weeks ago (see my previous post on this), but then I went to Bangkok, returned, had to buy other stuff. So I postponed buying it and was in fact rather complacent about the book not going out of stock immediately. After all, how many people do you know would be rushing to the bookstores to grab some stuffy book on old Nordic poems?

2. The Road to Middle-earth: Revised and Expanded Edition by Tom Shippey - This would be the Crown Jewels in today's loot. I have been looking for this book forever. I'm serious. Even Borders didn't have a copy, when I last visited. The Road to Middle-earth would be, for me, one of those books that you'd automatically look for whenever you'd enter a bookstore in the hopes that it would show up but never actually did.

Until today! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it on the second-to-the-lowest shelf in the dimly-lit Classics & Literary Criticism sections (Why is this area so poorly-lit to begin with? Doesn't anybody read the classics anymore?)

The book was sealed, but the plastic wrapper itself looked old and pretty dusty; I'm beginning to wonder how long Fully Booked had this copy and why I was idiotic enough to have missed it on the shelves before. Blame it on the section's poor lighting.

Anyway, seeing The Road to Middle-earth on the bookshelf was, without any doubt, a pee-in-the-pants moment for me. Metaphorically speaking of course.

3. The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon - Not buying this book when I saw it in Borders last year totally confirms my stupidity. I don't even remember why I dilly-dallied in the first place. Basically, this sin of omission has been haunting me ever since, because for some weird reason, I could never find a copy readily here in Manila. Thank God Fully Booked High Street had one copy left, and it's a good one. Mine now, at last. Hooray!

4. Notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci - Seeing a friend's brand new copy sparked my interest, and so I decided to get my own. It's always good to go back to the classics once in a while, as it helps maintain one's "discipline" (I don't know what else to call it) in reading books belonging to this genre. The nerd in me was scanning the pages of Notebooks and it definitely looks like an interesting read!

Why is it that the seemingly boring books that we were forced to read back in college (like Darwin's The Origin of Species and Smith's The Wealth of Nations) now look appealing to us--or to me, at least? Sorry, just wondering out loud.

Looking forward to the next two months. Will have to make my August book shopping list soon!


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