Only, being a book freak, instead of falling face first into a plate of kitty biscuits, I fell face first into a bookshop. Or two. Or ten. Let's face it, at this point in the Falling Off The Wagon process, who's counting? It began, as these things so often do, with visitors. Visitors, as we all know, are the enemy of willpower. "Sure, I'll have dessert!" (Even though I'm about two spoonfuls away from never moving again...) "Sure, I'll have another glass!" (Hey look, there are two of you!) I remember standing browsing in the Air Ambulance shop last summer, only to catch Hanna gently sneaking a book under my arm when I wasn't looking. Which I then bought. Of course. SUCH IS THE DEVIOUSNESS OF VISITORS.
So, when Jess and Rachel came to do Devious Visiting, we went to quite a few places that sell books. Obviously they had to scour OUR bookshop, including all of the office overflow shelves, but BESIDES that I think we hit two bookshops, four charity shops and tried to hit another bookshop but it was closed. Jess and Rachel were pretty good, all things considered, and I really did think about Laura's proposed "Yeah you're on a buying ban, but hey, fellow bloggers are in town, what can you do!" allowance of three books... but in the end, I bought seven. Just to remind you, I have finished TWO books so far in 2013, neither of which were off my own shelves anyway. Not a good ratio. :P
The floodgates are opened...
We started our book shopping in the Mind charity shop, where I picked up my first two books. I was actually doing pretty well and thought I'd come away with nothing - until I looked a little more closely at the ramshackle non-fiction shelves. I spotted a pristine copy of The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, tucked away between two bigger books, and snatched it up. And then, just when I thought I was safe, I noticed a big American paperback copy of George Plimpton's Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career. It's styled like an oral biography, it's been on my wishlist since I read (and adored) In Cold Blood last year, and it was only £3. Seriously, when would I have ever spotted that in a charity shop again? IT HAD TO BE MINE!
Our next stop was the indie bookshop on the corner, which we happened to visit just when they were having an enormous stock rearranging day. Despite not being able to get at all the shelves easily, and having to negotiate the new layout for the first time (got to get to grips with it for pre-work flying visits!), I did leap on a copy of Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus, his highly-acclaimed novel based around a fictional school shooting in Vancouver. From there we hit the bakery for chocolate crackle (melted chocolate, Rice Krispies and maybe treacle or golden syrup, mixed together, set and cut into big yummy triangles) and moved on to the new little remainder shop that opened recently. I'd never been in before but it was great! A proper little treasure trove - it'll definitely be a temptation for me over the next few months! I picked up brand spanking new copies of The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta for just £2 each, and there were plenty more books there that I could happily have brought home. Maybe next time I go to the library, which is just round the corner... ;)
I escaped the clutches of two more charity shops without buying anything, but once again the wall of bookshelves in the Air Ambulance shop proved too good to resist. I was doing okay until the third bookcase or so, I swear! There I spotted an unread copy of My Life in France by Julia Child, which I'd wanted to read even before I read Julie and Julia at the end of last year, AND a hardback copy of Russell Kane's The Humorist, which had been featured when he was a guest on the last series of The TV Book Club. For £1.45 a pop, it didn't seem right to say no! And then, finally, we meandered our way back to the shop to drink tea and recover. :)
In for a penny, in for a pound!
On Monday I'd planned to go for another look round the remainder shop, since I was already out doing fun stuff like Buying Stamps, but for some weird reason it doesn't open until 2pm on Mondays. Which is market day. When everyone comes early and starts leaving at... well, about 2pm. Oooops. Anyway, since I couldn't go in there, I decided to go and visit the nice lady on the book stall on the market instead. They have some really good stuff sometimes - pretty new fiction, and some really great non-fiction that would be £9-10 normally. I grabbed the last copy of We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee, which I remember Hanna really loving. It's the film tie-in cover, which is nowhere near as cool as the original, but hey... it was only £2.99, and the aforementioned nice lady gave it me for £2.50, just because I'm the mad girl who runs a bookshop but still buys books off her on a regular basis! Sometimes being a book fiend pays, dudes... ;)
My mum, dad and sister would probably say that this was a decidedly non-successful Meadowhall trip. We set off late because Hannah needed a shower and then I decided to tag along at the last minute but wasn't ready yet. I got really overheated at one point, which first made me kinda grumpy, and then culminated in me having to leave the heat and bustle of Nando's and walk around The Lanes (a kind of shopping arcade WITHIN a shopping arcade) for a bit because I was worried I was going to do something lovely like faint at the table. Not only that, but in the end, although they did do a little clothes 'n' shoes browsing, neither Mum nor Hannah returned home with bags full of new goodies. So... for them it was a duff day, and I feel pretty bad about it because it was mostly my fault, and Hannah had taken a day off and everything. :(
On the PLUS side, despite my funny turn in the middle, I did pretty well! For a start, it suddenly hit me on the way home that the very notion of deciding on the spur of the moment to tag along on a 45-minute drive to a big shopping centre, with the intention of spending several hours' shopping AND going for lunch, would have been enough to send me into a total nervous meltdown a mere... what, 18 months ago? It does me good sometimes to remember how far I've come since those terrified days when I couldn't leave the house for more than thirty seconds at a time, y'know?
And then there was my shopping haul. No boots, which is a bummer since my last pair suddenly tore apart and I now have just one pair to go with aaaaall the skinny jeans and leggings I bought in October. But I DID get coerced into buying a new olive summer jacket thingy in New Look, which had the misfortune of falling right at the grumpiest stage of my overheated sickiness, but actually looks really nice! And I also had a little time shopping by myself, which of course meant making a beeline for anywhere selling books, DVDs or awesome decorative... stuff. Yaaaay!
First up was HMV, where the relentless 'imminently closing down' sales meant that many of the DVDs were really tiny prices. I was going to wait until I'd read the book (finally) but I succumbed and bought a copy of Never Let Me Go for... £2.99? I think it was £2.99. Bargain! Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary film about the American obsession with guns, was actually an Amazon order, but it arrived in the post on the same day and I'm really looking forward to watching it over the next week or two.
When I legged it out of Nando's and into the refreshingly cool air of The Lanes, just outside the food court, I had a little wander into a boutique called Cleopatra that used to be a favourite of mine. There are all sorts of quirky shops in The Lanes, but Cleopatra's a particularly oddball-centric one. The kind of place where you can buy lace corsets and skull-print tights, miniature Buddhas and spiked headbands, candle holders and model dragons. I've seen these beautiful super-bright glass mosaic pieces before, mostly in the form of big mirrors or jewellery boxes that aren't really that practical for me, so when I spotted this (smaller) 'Home Sweet Home' sign I bought it on the spot. You can hang it up somewhere, but I thought it'd look great propped on a bookcase or mantel when we move. Pretty... :)
Yeeeees! I was so happy when I spotted the new Krispy Kreme coffee bar right downstairs from our car parking exit when we arrived - because I have never eaten a Krispy Kreme donut before. My inner American-media junkie has been desperate to try them for years, but we've never had an outlet close enough. Bex was even trying to find a way of MAILING me donuts last week, lovely munchkin that she is, because she was so horrified that me and Krispy Kreme had not yet been introduced. YAY MEADOWHALL! I didn't sample one with Mum and Hannah first thing, because I'd only just had breakfast, but I DID go back on the way out for three donuts to take away. I ate the Original Glazed this morning and OMG it was SOOOO DAMN GOOD, I wanted to have its babies, and I've still got a Chocolate Custard and a Strawberries and Kreme waiting for me at home. Ohhhh yeah. :)
Aaaaand then there were books! Come on, you didn't think I was going to be let loose in a huge shopping centre and NOT end up in bookshops, did you? The '3-for-£5' offer at The Works yielded two from my wishlist: Adorkable by Sara Manning, which Jess gave a glowing review last year, and Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks. I'm not really into historical fiction very much, but I've enjoyed all of her novels that I've read so far (Year of Wonders is one of my favourite books EVER, partially because it's set near me) and this one really piqued my interest when it came out in 2011. I rounded out the offer with Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. I've never really had the urge to read it before, but hey, it was there! If you've never heard of it, one look at his name should tell you all you need to know. ;)
I also picked up a lovely copy of Pride and Prejudice for a bargainous £3.99, which not only has larger print and better contrast than the crappy freebie edition I currently have on my shelves, but also matches the Wuthering Heights that Rachel bought me for Christmas. Yay for matching books! And finally, hours later, exhausted but determined, I hit Waterstones. There were SO MANY BOOKS that I've had my eye on, out in paperback at last, but I was very good and only bought one, and not a shiny new one from the front tables either. Ever since I read and adored Rant, every time I go to a bookshop I make a point of checking for more Palahniuk novels. Usually I'm disappointed; they often only have Fight Club and maybe Damned, or none at all. But HALLELUJAH! This branch had loads! I ended up picking Choke, which sounds awesome and says "Fight Club for sex addicts" on the front cover. Who WOULDN'T be intrigued?! Oh, and I finally applied for a Waterstones card. If I'm moving nearer to Chesterfield, which HAS a Waterstones, then I might as well get points for my rampant buying, right? :P
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, THAT is how you fall off the book-buying-ban wagon with STYLE. Please leave all recommendations, congratulations and hearty tellings-off in the comments! :)