DISCLAIMER: This post may either offend you or make you laugh, please be wise and choose the easier path, as advised by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
This weekend I gave myself a much needed day off from studying. That means I found myself at the bookstore.
This is what my afternoon off looked like:
I got some reading and writing done! I’m working on a bunch of short stories but it’s really difficult to focus with uni and work, so whenever I get some writing done it feels like an achievement.
Back to the issue at hand – A bookstore in Jeddah is not your usual Waterstones or Barnes and Nobles. The experience is completely different. Here is my typical bookstore experience in Jeddah:
- I get super excited and walk up the stairs to the Books floor.
- I run to the fiction section.
- I look through the shelves. Multiple times, multiple rows.
- I may find a book or two that I want.
- But that doesn’t always happen.
- In fact, sometimes I stand in an aisle staring at the shelves, feeling betrayed and alone.
- I also feel disbelieving of the fact that a bookstore could be so badly stocked.
Okay, so I may have exaggerated a little bit, but really I haven’t (whatever that means).
Here are things that are almost always impossible to find at your typical Jarir Bookstore in Jeddah:
- The first 50 books on your wishlist.
- The box sets on your wishlist.
- Any editions designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.
- Any clothbound editions (unless it’s a journal!!).
- The books that just won the Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize or any other prestigious literary prize.
- The choice between hardback or paperback of a book.
- Books by Franz Kafka, Neil Gaiman, Fitzgerald, Capote, and Jack Kerouac (etc etc etc).
- Books by writers that the rest of the world is talking about.
- Any gorgeous edition you can think of that I might want.
Things are bad but people do leave the bookstore satisfied because you’ll find a book or two that you might like to read. I speak strictly of fiction, GOOD fiction, the kind that makes you think and deepen your understanding of life. I am NOT talking about Young Adult fiction, although that is a rant for another time.
When I went to the bookstore today I was hoping to find A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, anything by Don DeLillo, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. These are the books I’ve recently found myself wanting.
Instead, I found The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck:
So even though I did not find the books I wanted I found this Pulitzer Prize winning book! I’m always looking for classics by women so all was not miserable.
Here are the two gorgeous clothbound journals I bought:
They’re so perfect! I love them, especially because they’re unlined and small enough to fit in any bag I have.
And here’s a picture of Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac (which I bought from India), my current read:
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! What’s the best and worst feature of the bookstore you regularly visit?!