There is this subtlety to discovering books. You don’t even know it and there you are, tucked in with a new book by an author you don’t even know, and you are walking out of the bookstore, just waiting to get home to start reading the book. How did it happen? How did you manage to discover the book? How did the process even begin? Also, how does one get to know of titles online? How does then one shop online for books? There is so much happening in the world of books, that a reader can easily get overwhelmed.
Discovering Books is a beautiful experience in itself. It is something that I would never want anyone to take away from me. I remember going through books on books and reading, while growing up, just to get my hands on a new author or book which I had never heard of. I also remember discovering Murakami that way. Just logging on to Amazon.com one fine day in 2001 – the 1st of May, and there it was, the cover, staring right at me, and I knew I had to order the book. That was when my love affair with Murakami began.
To wander into a bookstore – old or new and then to find a book which you instantly connect with. The feeling is known to many and yet every time we discover a book or an author, our heart jumps with joy. We identify the feeling with other readers. We want to squeal. We want to share our happiness. That is the pleasure of finding books. Of discovering new worlds. Of wanting to shut out the world and immersing oneself in newer worlds.
I hate when people recommend books to me. I do not like it one bit. I do not ask for recommendations. I am happy searching for books on my own, in the way I like to. There is this magic of finding an unknown Norwegian writer whose name you cannot pronounce, but you Thank God for the translation.
To begin to turn the pages at a second-hand bookstore. To smell the newness or the old smell of a book. To read a paragraph or two and realize that there is no way you will leave the store without picking up the book – that is the magic of finding out. Maybe that is how you will find what books you love reading, what genres will be closest to you when you turn eighty, or which authors will you quote again and again.
To go online and go through lists and lists of books (I love Flavour Wire for this and many such websites). To read reviews. To understand the book. To read a sample online (sometimes, even this helps). To walk into a library and find books. To randomly go through a person’s bookshelves and discover something you want to refer to later. Of those hurriedly making notes in a small notebook, which has a long list of books to read and books to buy. Isn’t it that joy which cannot be compared with anything else in the world?
Off late, I have also started discovering books through people’s book hauls and book videos on YouTube. But nothing to beat the good old method of entering a book store. Of looking at the shelves again and again, with the hope of finding something you have never encountered. Like a blind date with a book. Like a thrill running through your entire body. Something you know will stay. An experience you cannot let go off. That is the magic of books, I guess.
So where do you find your books? How do you discover them?