After a whirlwind of final exams, I am in serious need of some R&R. I thought that the best way to kick off my 3-week-ish break (yes, I'm one of those crazy people who is doing summer semester) would be some book therapy. Book shopping is really the only kind of shopping that I enjoy and is, therefore, my only option for retail therapy. I don't treat myself too often (my broke student wallet won't allow it), but when I do I come back with a sizeable stack of books.
This time I decided to peruse the shelves of a thrift shop and used bookstore. My friend gave me 4 used books for my birthday (3 travel literature and 1 lonely planet guide), which I am super excited to read. Her gift made me think about centring my next shopping spree around used books. I love local/used bookstores. My favourite thing when I'm exploring a new city (besides trying out the local coffee spots) is to check out the local bookshops. There's just so much character in these shops and sometimes there are furry friends (of the cat variety) that chill out amongst the rows of books. You'll never find a cat hanging out at Chapters (mega-bookstore chain in Canada). Today I went to Value Village (a thrift shop) and The Creative Bookworm (a local used-book store).
I picked up 3 of Bill Bryson's books today. I read A Walk in the Woods back in first year for an English course. As he is a well-known travel writer, I'm looking forward to reading some of his other works. I have not yet taken the quintessential backpacking trip through Europe so I'm very interested in reading, Neither Here Nor There, which talks about Bryson retracing the steps of the Europe trip he took 20 years previous. One of my dreams is to someday live in Australia and I think that, In a Sunburned Country, will be a good literary introduction to the country. I've visited Oz once, but have yet to explore it in depth. Speaking of countries I need to re-visit, I love the UK. I've been twice and have so much left to explore. Reading Notes From a Small Island should appease my wanderlust somewhat. This is Bryson's account of his valedictory (a nice word borrowed from the back cover) tour of the UK before returning to his native land, the US. I thoroughly enjoy travel literature and can't wait to sink my teeth into Bryson's works.
I also picked up 3 lonely planet guidebooks; Costa Rica, Egypt, and Peru. They are all on the bucket list so I was more than happy for them to join my collection. I'll need to pick up some books on learning Spanish soon, as I hope to know a bit of Spanish before I visit Costa Rica and Peru (whenever that may be). I have, including the books I got today, 39 travel-related books (guidebooks, language phrasebooks, travel memoirs, travel literature, etc.). I have not read all of them yet; my TBR pile is forever growing. A lot of them serve as inspiration. Some I can use to plan a gap year. Others motivate me to go after my dreams of being a writer. I'm interested in extraordinary stories and am always really impressed when I read about someone's great adventure. I hope one day I can have some crazy stories to share too.
I'm always on the hunt for good stories and I have found a great many of them in the books I have read over the years. You can find many delightful stories in small local bookstores. I don't recall ever entering one of these shops and leaving without at least one book. I am a firm believer in buying second-hand books when possible. If you're not sure what you're looking for, head on down to your local used-book store and take a gander. Usually, you save some money when buying at these establishments as the books are generally sold at a discounted price. You are also supporting a local entrepreneur. I find that it's a different experience shopping at a local bookstore rather than a multinational corporation. The vibe of each place is different and the books at the second-hand shops seem to be more friendly. Maybe because they have been well-loved? The large chain stores do have there uses though, like when you need to have the latest edition of a book (in order to have the most up to date information) or when the smaller shops don't have the book you want in stock. To my fellow bibliophiles, I want to leave you with two sentiments: shop smart and happy reading!