Slice of Life Story Day 5 The Buzz of Buying A New Book

I love the rush that accompanies buying a new book. The browsing and rummaging that precedes the purchase. The quiet and considered contemplation as one searches the shelves in the hope of finding a reading gem. Eventually I reach out and pluck a volume from the collection. I relish the opportunity to turn the book over in my hands and savour the words. I scan the cover thoroughly taking in the elements of the page before turning the book over, anticipating the blurb. If it’s an author with whom I am unfamiliar, I want to get to know them. I need for us to be more acquainted, the author and I. So, I open the book to see if the dust cover reveals information about this potential new friend. I am provided with the background information I seek. Pleased to meet you I think...

Today, while visiting Williamstown I found a book by John Boyne, an Irish writer and author of the ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ .The book is titled, ‘Noah Barleywater Runs Away’ The word ‘runs’ is printed in slightly bolder text on the cover and I wonder if this is significant. Am I meant to notice this small detail? The blurb is a repeat of the book’s opening lead. I find it most engaging. A lead must draw the reader in; capture and hold their attention. It may be written in such a way as to raise questions or heighten curiosity. John Boyne arouses such responses when I read,

‘Noah Barleywater left home in the early morning, before the sun rose, before the dogs woke, before the dew stopped falling on the fields.’

I am struck by how Boyne establishes a sense of time, as well as his effective use of repetition. I have pressing questions such as, Why is Noah leaving home? Where is he going? The desire to read on, to find out, to discover is already firmly established within me as a reader. John Boyne, has drawn me in. He has my attention. The book is bought.

I have written this slice immediately upon arriving home, -such was the compelling nature of this book experience. However, I must stop writing now, as John Boyne’s words beckon the reader in me. I need to know more.


  1. Dear Alan,
    Thank you for describing your thoughts before buying a book. "Quiet and considered contemplation", "relish the opportunity", "anticipation" - are words that speak to me. I like your metaphor for the book - a new potential friend.
    I am looking forward to reading more slices about you as a reader. Your explanation of how John Boyne immediately engaged you with his new book was such a detailed glimpse in to a head of a good reader.

  2. You know I really like my nook which I received for Christmas. I am reading my third book on it right now but you so beautifully described the feeling of touching and browsing a book in the bookstore, I am inclined to go shop for one to hold in my hands:)

  3. Morning Alan,
    I'm listening to the Aruba birds as I read and remember the love I used to have in book stores, old ones of course. Now I walk around with my ipad filled with new titles that come to me from suggestions, book reviews and samples all downloaded from Yes I am one of those who has given up on paper. I love it but wonder what I've lost...
    Thanks for taking me along with you

  4. Alan, your post is the exact reason I am not so sure about buying an e-reader. I tell everyone I know I am a book owner, not a book renter. I love bookstores more than anything because the possibilities are endless. Thanks for sharing the love.

  5. This experience is exactly why nothing can quite take the experience of an actual book, much as I love my Kindle. I must get this book..."Striped Pajamas" was extraordinary, and this one sounds like magic as well. Happy reading, Alan!

  6. Is there anyone else out there that loves the smell of their new book???
    It's probably toxic, but I love it!

  7. Alan, you put words to what I do unconsciously. I love the slow journey you took me on. Now, I must stop writing because I will be checking the library and/or Amazon for this book. Inquiring minds want to know . . .

  8. You have described exactly how I feel in a bookstore - I could spend hours just looking, although it's always hard to decide on just one when so many are calling my name.

  9. I, too, love a trip to the bookstore. Your description summed it up beautifully!

  10. Loved reading this slice. I will definitely check out this author and book. Enjoy your reading time!

  11. You just know how to say it! My idea of shopping is to some how get to a bookstore in my day. I've contemplated getting an ereader but I just don't think it will be the same if I don't get the wonderful cover and the feel of a book.

  12. You caught perfectly the book-buying experience. I find it only gets better when you get to pass it on to someone who you know will love the book as much as you do. I have "Boy in the Striped Pajamas" on my shelf, but I haven't read it yet. I look forward to digging into it as well as the one you bought today.

  13. Now I must read it! I simply love your writing style - I used some of your posts last year as mentor texts with my students. Your word choice is always precise. Thank you for sharing.

  14. A book is an all over experience - someone mentioned the smell of new pages. I get so upset when the pages don't smell good - taints the "skinny dipping" delights of a new book

  15. So many kindred spirits here. Hubby has asked several times if I would like a Kindle or other reader. No,I don't. I like the smell of the pages. I like to run my hand over the cover and the pages before savoring the words. Lovely description of the selection process.

  16. Thank you one and all for your comments. Don't get me wrong. I am not against e-reading. I engage in it myself. In our house we have a range of devices. I just have a preference for the traditional book buying experience. May it live on...

  17. Alan, I had a similar experience today. I was in an antique shop in Inglewood near Bendigo and I was going though all of the old books on the shelf...and although some of them smelt a bit nasty, I mostly enjoyed reading the messages inside the books, for example "Happy Birthday Edna, 1932"
    This is the reason why I write my name and the date in every book that I read. I also always leave a little memento in the book (I use it as a bookmark while reading), whether this be a plane ticket (because I read the book on the plane), a photo of something that is happening in my life at the time or a birthday card if I received the book as a gift. When I go back to a book I love to see what I have left inside and it often brings back great memories.

    It seems that I am not the only one to do this, I inherited all of Andrew's Nans cookbooks (although she past away before I met her) and she has letters, cards, postcards, birth and death notices and newspaper articles in pages. Reading them is just as pleasurable as knowing that I am cooking that same recipe!

    I hope that my grandkids get the same pleasure out of finding little pieces of history about me!

    I love the new header too Alan!


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