Thursday, July 14, 2011

comfort spending

I suspect most of us do this from time to time. Even when we're trying to be frugal, even when we're all "the economy is going to keep tanking, inflation is going to keep going up, I may regret not having held onto this money when dry beans are $8 a bag"

But there comes a point where you also go: "Yeah, and I could get hit by a bus tomorrow."

My comfort spending is never all THAT ruinous; I don't think I've ever dropped more than $50 on something because I was feeling bad, thought it would make me feel better, and wanted it.

I did a little bit today. I had to drive to the next city over (it's an hour's round trip; I really do feel like I live in BFE sometimes). Someone at one of the agencies had loaned me CD-ROMs of a map coverage I needed for a project, and since they were good enough to give me the originals (saying: "Last time I tried making a CD to CD copy for someone, it came out badly, so I'll just let you take these and upload them directly), I figured they deserved to have them re-delivered by hand, rather than trusted to the U.S. Mail.

So since I had to run down there, I decided to go to the such-as-it-is bookstore. (We have a small paperback-exchange bookstore in town, which is fine, except I rarely find what I want if I'm looking for something specific. And we have the campus bookstore but they are SMALL and have precious few non-text-book books). Even the bookstore in the next city over isn't GREAT; I've been in larger versions of this chain (it's a Books-a-Million) that had way better selection, and for most "older" books (things that were first published >5 years ago), unless they're "classics" and on some reading list somewhere, good luck at finding them. And a lot of the store is given over to gifty type stuff, which is fine, except, when their "mystery" section is as small as it is there, it's not so fine with me...

I looked at Asimov's "Foundation Novels" after someone recommended them to me, but after reading the blurbs, meh, I don't know. I'm not really a fan of sci-fi and even though I know Asimov is good, I don't know that I'd be enticed to sit down and read them.

Then I looked at the mysteries. They had some nice, fancy, new Harper paperback editions of Agatha Christie. While she's not my favey-ever mystery writer (I do not think, actually, she is as good a writer/plotter as some of the other "Golden Age" writers), still, I enjoy a good Poirot story and they had several I had not read. And these are nice paperbacks - larger than a pocket book, with those kind of matte covers, and a simple, almost vintage-feeling graphic on them. (And one that relates to the plot of the book. So many mystery novels, it seems they throw some random titillating thing up there to attract attention).

(The ones I bought: Dumb Witness, The ABC Murders (I have seen the Suchet production of this, but never read the book), and Third Girl (same thing - saw the Mystery! production of it but never have read it and want to - often for the productions they change quite a bit).

(Another nifty feature: they have a list on the back, IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, of the stories. It bugs me that sometimes it's hard to find out - without resorting to an internet search- the order in which a series was published. And while with something like Poirot, it really doesn't matter the order you read them in - the later stories (which I now see Third Girl is) aren't as satisfying to me because they're more modernized. And also, I read somewhere that in the later books, psychologists can see the beginnings of the dementia Christie ultimately suffered from - the language is less complex, for example. I tried reading one of the later Miss Marple books and found I could definitely tell a difference between it and the earlier stories.)

At any rate - while yes, I probably already own more books than I will ever read in what remains of my life (barring some kind of bizarre plague outbreak situation where all unaffected people are told to shelter in their homes for an indefinite period of time), it's still nice to have new ones. And these are books that please me - nice typeface, attractive covers, pleasant size. (I admit it, I'm a bit of a book-snob. I don't always enjoy the pocket-book size paperbacks, though part of it is that sometimes the font is a bit smaller and also sometimes the way they're bound, the inner margins are very small.)

Also, while I'm not averse to e-readers, I think my love of books is such that I'd never be able to REPLACE my books with an e-reader (I know people who have tried to do that), though I can definitely see the value of an e-reader for things like traveling, where you could load six or eight (or more) novels onto something that occupies the space (and has the weight) of one.

(Also: I like to read in the tub - which, actually, is one time I'm not averse to the really cheap paperbacks, though I've never actually dropped one in, I suppose there's a first time for everything - and an e-reader would probably be dangerous for that.)

But anyway. New books (well, new old books, I guess you could say). Something aesthetically pleasing to me. A fun and not too taxing escape with a character I enjoy.

The debt-limit debate can suck it. I'm going to go read.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

Reading is THE great escape, isn't it? That is so cool you found a chronological list of titles; I had to find a separate checklist for the "The Cat Who..." mysteries.

Can anyone have too many books? Hmmm.