The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

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Someone pissed me off yesterday and I am tempted to write about it. But it seems so counterproductive. In fact, I'm more interested in why I invested emotion into the exchange, which is staggeringly unimportant in the scheme of things, than I am in the exchange itself. But perhaps that's a safe place for anger to go, sometimes.

Instead, now in a flight delay at BWI -- I'm not complaining, when an airline wants to swap a plane out for mechanical reasons, I am all for it -- I am thinking about my visits to two bookstores here, where I almost couldn't find the book I wanted to read right now. As it sometimes happens, I analyzed my own buying habits to tune into what my "customers" do, why people pick up or don't pick up a book.

First of all, in a physical bookstore, it's hard to buy a book that's not there. Neither store I browsed had my most recentl book. Bummer. I can't even make the local authors rack at the Borders in the BWI A Terminal.

Two, I do wonder at the hand-selling I witnessed. A gentleman with a very long travel day ahead said he liked Vince Flynn. The Borders employee recommended "The Girl Who . . ." series. The recommendation felt generic to me. Besides, in hand-selling, shouldn't booksellers recommend titles that aren't getting a lot of attention?

At any rate, I left Borders empty-handed. The only book that tempted me was A TICKET TO THE CIRCUS, but I'm not sure why. Probably because of a good review that I read recently. And a book I pondered, the latest Sue Miller, which sounds fantastic? I didn't buy that precisely because I hadn't read any reviews yet. I like Miller's work, but I was a little disappointed in the ending of THE SENATOR'S WIFE, so I was reluctant to commit to a hardcover.

Onto Hudson Booksellers, where my books are almost never stocked. Oh, Hudson, what did I do? How can I make you love me? The selection is smaller here and always quirky. Why the big push for Arthur Phillips's THE SONG IS YOU? The new Marian Keyes would be an close-to-automatic purchase in paperback, but not hardcover. Then I saw Jennifer Haigh's THE CONDITION and that was perfect for my mood. I loved her first novel, THE THREE MRS. KIMBALLS. (Or was it KIMBLE? You know the rules here. I don't check something until I've posted and then I note my errors.)

What are you reading? And, more importantly, how did you choose to read that book right now?

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