A generous relative gave me a generous book token for my birthday a while back and after a good few years of not venturing out of the house without my short person escort it took me a while to register that with Junior now in kindergarten part-time I have the freedom to browse bookshops alone, not to mention the opportunity to grab more reading time to myself. Bliss.
So what to do with that book token? Just one problem, every Friday night I devour the book reviews in the weekend papers. Of course I'm not intelligent enough to save the ones I'm interested in and what can I say, my post childbirth memory has never quite recovered even to my previous absent minded state, so, there I am, a whole shopping mall, complete with two reasonably large bookshops, all to myself and my mind is a blank.
All around the tables piled high with recent publications and monthly specials are a blur of colour and text. The bookshelf crammed walls make me practically dizzy with anticipation, but when I dig around in my brain for those elusive titles I draw a total and utter blank.
My kid in a candystore demeanor turns to utter frustration, as I scan frantically for something that looks familiar from all those wonderful newspaper reviews. Every so often I think I see something, a name, a title, but I can't for the life of me place it, and most of the time looking at the cover blurb I replace the book in disappointment or realise that it's something that I've read already.
In the end I scoop up some vaguely familiar titles that are almost all on special, hope that I've scored on most of them, and walk over to the cash register, nervous but pleased to be buying grown-up books all by myself for myself for the first time in I can't remember how long.
Anyhow, this is how I find myself with my book token used up and a considerable stack of recent novels I'm not quite sure why I own, though at least the blurbs do look interesting, even if I still can't remember whether more than one of them appeared in any of those reviews I was salivating over months and years ago.
At least one of the new authors I've tried out seems to be worth the effort, Michael Scheinfeld, up and coming young writer being hailed as the next Haim Sabbato. Well, I'm half way through his double novella "Ba MiLevanon" (I always seem to end up with war stories), and Haim Sabbato he ain't , but I do like his writing all the same.