Book readers and collectors are both the hardest people to buy for and yet the easiest. I know someone very well who questions whether or not he needs a shirt or pair of shoes that would be worn repeatedly, but never doubts about acquiring a book that might remain on the shelves for years unread or only partially read. You never know whether a person who accumulates lots of books already has the book you find for them. I have bought books for myself, only to discover that I already have the book. And then there is this problem: You think, “He ought to like this book on such and such a topic,” but it turns out that he actually deplores that book, author, and maybe even topic.
The whole problem is compounded by the fact that so many really good books are not to be found in the chain stores or franchise book stores. Books-A-Million is one of the few bookstores in our community. But for me, it is Books-A-Few. Maybe if everything in the store were free, I could find lots of books, but normally, I scan the shelves, scour the bargain tables, and glance through the sections wondering if there are books on the premises that I actually want…and want at prices that BAM actually charges. (I am certain that the CEO of BAM will be furious today when he reads this blog, but he will have to console himself in the fact that I do buy books from BAM.)
I love independent bookstores and used book stores. I love the hunt. Finding a good book at a steal is half the joy of acquiring books. I have a camoflauge outfit that looks like a stack of books that I wear. I spray on a scent called “Musty Books,” and then I quietly sneak up on shelves and tables and other places where books congregate. There are whole book preserves designed for hunters like myself.
But I don’t expect my friends and family to have those kinds of hunting skills, nor do they have the time for such. So here are a few ideas I picked up while mulling around in our local stores:
I fot the first book, Foundations, out of this series for Christmas a couple of years back. I recently started reading it and want the rest of the books. Ackroyd is in the process of writing a history of England.
I am not a big fan of Henry Kissinger, but the old fellow (now 90 plus years old) does understand global politics. Besides, I consulted a friend or two who know the man and this book, and they both gave it thumbs up.
And now, what else did I find. I cannot remember. 3 volumes out of a purported million books—not bad.