Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Books Among The Baked Beans

I'd just taken a vow of abstinence. No trips to the top floor of BSC to browse through the new books in Times. This was strictly a necessity shop, for veg, and fish and milk and the brand of catfood darling Muffin (she who has my husband wrapped around her tail-tip) prefers.

But Cold Storage have been sneaky. Very sneaky. Right there at the checkout, where you can't help but make eye-contact with them, they have racks of paperbacks. Not just any old paperbacks, but damn good ones and at knock-down prices - just RM9.99. (Mercy tells me that Tesco is being similarly underhand.)

My hands were shaking as I rummaged through ...

I'd have loved to have adopted everything but managed to restrain myself and buy just three: William Trevor's debut novel The Old Boys; Roddy Doyle's The Snapper; and Mendel's Dwarf by Simon Mawar.

I already have a copy of The Snapper, but bought it because I felt so sorry for it orphaned there on the shelf. I truly loved the whole of Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy (The Van was my favourite part I have to confess - still laugh at the memory of the dirty nappy falling into the fish and chip batter!) - so full of human warmth and humour. I decided that I would bookcross this copy and I'm leaving it at Delicious cafe in 1 Utama tomorrow night around 6p.m. for fate to decide the next leg of its journey.

Idiot idea.

Never mind.

One can afford to be earth-shatteringly magnanimous when only RM9.99 is at stake.

Simon Mawar's Mendel's Dwarf is a book I read ages ago and always wanted a copy of. (I hate not to own a copy of a book I've really enjoyed). Loved the blend of science (and I am fascinated by evolutionary biology and genetics) and fiction, and really felt for the main character, Benedict, who is afflicted by the very illnesss he is studying - achondroplasia or dwarfism.

I found this book for the first time in a little book rental place in Taman Tun and I wished I had kept it because the shop closed down so quickly (as is so often the way with these places). I am truly surprised that this novel did not win any major prizes in Britain (although the Los Angeles Times shortlisted it for their Book Prize).

And then the post was very kind to me today. I had two parcels - one containing my copy of Toby Litt's Ghost Story - a secondhand uncorrected proof copy from Waterstones in mint condition (and cheaper even with postage than the hardback) and a package of lovely literary magazines from Susan Abraham for which I am so very grateful, and which I know will refresh and inspire ...

I do lend my books to friends and if you drop by to read my blog then you definitely qualify ... Just that terms and conditions apply (i.e. give 'em back when you've read 'em!)


Chet said...

There's a book rental shop above Guardian across from the old Jusco in Taman Tun, called Early Edition, where the books are in good condition, and they even shelf them according to "Oprah", "Award Winners", etc. They charge something like RM50/- a year for a book a month, plus a deposit of I think RM30/-. I still have a deposit there, but I never finished my 2004 quota so that's gone. Anyway, wanna go visit one of these days?

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

When are your best reading times, Sharon?

Chet said...

After reading your post yesterday, I went by Tesco in Mutiara Damansara to look for paperbacks at the check-out counters but found none. :(

bibliobibuli said...

Try Cold Storage in BSC and TESCO in Puchong ... maybe they don't think there are many readers of English books in Damansara!

bibliobibuli said...

Susan - nice question I'll answer it in an entry of it's own.