Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happiness Is...

I went on an incredibly indulgent shopping spree today. Its not that I can't afford it but today just proved how uncontrollable I can be when left to my own devices in a bookstore that's likely to carry the kind of books I love.

It all started in the morning with this:
I was in our neighborhood's tiny, obscure, practically obsolete NBS branch, waiting for the driver to finish an errand. Of course I whiled away the time by carefully going over the branch's small collection of published art. I was hoping to find a cheap-o copy of The Lost World, or The Da Vinci Code, or Angels & Demons... a few of my missing links (i.e., previously owned; lost to "friends" who have no idea how precious books can be to a person.).

As unfortunate as it was that copies of those were to be found, there was gold 'neath the rubble! The thorough browsing got me "Focus" by Al Ries. Likely to be considered a classic in marketing material now, Focus talks about how a singular story, word or moment can make your brand stuck in the mind of the public FOREVER. It's how Volvo = safety, and FedEx will always be overnight. Or Coke is happiness (keko kela!). Classic as the concept may be, it remains true: occupy the singular space in the human mind that only you can have and OWN IT. What I'd like to find out now is, where does that singular space come from? Does it happen in one decisive moment or is it like the id of being, continuously changing and therefore always a work in progress? I guess I'll have to read the brilliance of Mr. Ries to find out.

BUT WAIT! There's more to the story. So I pick up the book to check out the price. "Hmmm... from P385, down to 250." Not bad. As I'm never one to turn down a bargain, I headed off to the counter to pay and take my treasure home.

Scan... click... and the COC read P125. One hundred twenty five pesos! The discount was on a further reduced 50% discount! Un-F-ing-believable. By the time Mang Ariel got to me, I was singing "Happiness is Al Ries for a steal."

Note to self: Review the 22 immutable laws of marketing. I just need to brush up.

How I wish the book buying stopped there. The bargains started and stopped in NBS Retiro, because when I got to Fully Booked Powerplant in the afternoon, I turned into Agustus Gloop let loose in Willy Wonka's factory!
Brief backgrounder: I'm not the most pop-culture reader. When everyone was reading EPL and TTTW, I shunned both novels vehemently. Okay, fine, not that harsh. I'll probably read them one day if someone lent me a copy. But you won't dare find me reading Nicholas Sparks, or LJ Smith, or (dear God.) Judith McNaught. My kind of books are slightly more on the difficult-to-find scale. When the bookstores carry the novels on my most-wanted list, it's normally just a piece or two (nothing like the boxes they keep of The Last Song) and the freak geeks like me are left to fight among ourselves for the rarities.

I really didn't expect to find the works of the author I was looking for on the shelves of Fully Booked, and I really didn't. I was wearing my contacts, couldn't read stuff right and my eyes hurt. (I did find something else however. I'll get to that later.) But since I don't give up easy either, I hopped on over to customer service and asked if they had copies of Naomi Novic's Temeraire Series available.

THEY DID! Books 1 through 5 in paperback, because the latest of the series was just released in hardbound. I was so happy! Although I could wait for Book 6's paperback copy to come out, books 2-5 just had to be mine. I am now the proud owner of the almost complete Temeraire novels.

Temeraire is the dragon of Captain Will Lawrence, an aerial fighter pilot in the twisted fictional history of the French-British war had it been fought with dragons. Alternate reality. Fantasy realism. Throw-the-box-away thinking. For me, Naomi Novic is an artist with her words and ploys. I'm sure many freak geeks would agree.

Now on to my shelf find: Since I am part Sci-fi geek, I'm always scouring that particular area of the bookstores. Yes, I look for specific idols like Sanderson, Gaiman, Rice, Feist, Stroud or Novic, but I also take time to browse through other authors. I know H. G. Wells is in no way just another Sci-fi author (he wrote The Time Machine, The Island Of Doctor Moreau and War Of The Worlds for crying out loud) but this was my honest first time to take real notice of him.

Reading the introduction of Adam Roberts in the reprint copy of H. G. Wells' "The Food Of The Gods" piqued my interest because Roberts noted that this isn't one of Wells well-known works. Often overshadowed by it glorious brothers, now all made into nasty B-movies in my humble opinion, which leads me to hope that Hollywood stays away from this one, The Food Of The Gods is revolves around the fictional plot that scientists have found an element that turns mere men herculean. Like finding the fountain of youth, Wells plays out the go-abouts in the mind of the limited human being as he explores the "possibility" of god-like qualities.

Don't you just love it when the written word challenges boundaries of the thought, in terms of storyline creativity and human capacity.

So, those were my fabulous finds at FBPP today. More will be added to my collection next week, because I had a few put on hold for me: Sanderson's Well Of Ascension & Hero Of Ages, Guillebeau's AONC and Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.

I spend too much on books...

Egads, heaven help me when July 2011 comes around and Hobbes & Landes hold their annual sale. Books, boardgames... they're my version of Samson's hair cut off. Still, that Peanut's song is stuck in my head. "Happiness is... an ever growing collection of books, books, and more books."

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