Still Life Sunday: The Book Store Dweller

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3 The Book Store Dweller

I don’t read books. But I love pretending that I do.

I can easily spend a few hours in a book store, wandering around, touching the different covers. Sometimes I pick up one of them, usually the one with the most interesting cover, turn it over and read the synopsis on the backside. Or then I open the book and flick through the pages, catching a word here or there.

When I wander I also watch the other book store dwellers. I notice them – how some reach for paperbacks and some for hard covers. How some people love works on psychology and human behavior. How some, mostly women, spend more time than others browsing the books on the shelf dedicated to Harlequins. And how some people throw wishful side-long glances at the opposite sex who in their turn, however, are too deep in their book-thinking to notice that they are being watched.

I’ve also noticed that there are three kind of book buyers: the boring ones who show no feelings when choosing and buying a book; the ecstatic ones who are quick in their moves, already knowing which book they want; and the quiet ones who take a moment sitting or standing and reading the book, making sure that they will enjoy their purchase.

And when someone decides to buy a book, I almost want to buy that same book. Although I would not read it, for sure, I still get the urge to imitate that passionate person. I am not sure why. Maybe to get a glimpse of their life by sharing the experience?

But I know better and, therefore, manage to fight the urge.

You see, I never buy the books because I never read them. I only know what they are about, how they have been praised by others, what books have been written by which author. Which books are on this year’s book list of Oprah’s Book Club.

So, I know. I just don’t know-know.

For me it is about being aware instead of knowing. I am aware of the latest best-sellers, the Pulitzer Prize winners and the biographies all talk-shows are talking about. I am aware that these books exist, how they are written, what they are about. But I do not need to know what the content is. And that is enough – for me.

Some might judge me for this but I wish they didn’t. Because it’s up to me to choose how I spend my time, my money, my energy. And I choose not to spend them on buying and reading books.

Instead, I do something else.

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