Blind book reviews, March 2017

Another month, another set of blind book reviews.

For those of you who are joining us for the first time, Welcome!

The blind book reviews series is the result of my compulsive need to visit the bookstore once a week. Sometimes during those visits, I’d see a book that looks interesting, but not enough to buy it (yet).

These blind reviews are my attempt to verbalize that interest. A sort of pre-review for a book I’ve yet to read.

These books were on-shelf in FullyBooked between February to March 2017.

A Little History of the World, by E.H. Gombrich

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who did horribly in social science and history. 

Math, English, Science? Oh she did just fine. But ask her to memorize a name or a date, and she’d zero out.

That is, until one teacher taught Japanese history in a new way: A series of tragic love stories, maniacal villains, with ninja and samurai side-stories galore.

Suddenly, school became just as interesting as fantasy books, and so the little girl learned to love history.

I am that little girl, and this book is–I hope–like that teacher.

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Blind book reviews, December 2016

I meant to make a follow up to that post from November. The one about going to bookstores, keeping tab of the books that catch my eye. The one where I make mental notes on why they caught my eye. The one where I talk about why I think they might be worth the read, even though I’ve never read them myself.

Today I write that follow-up.

And because I want to give this a catchier name than say, “books I’ve been seeing on the shelf”, I’ve decided to call them blind book reviews.

These books were on-shelf in local major bookstores (mostly National Bookstore and FullyBooked) between November to December 2016.

A History of the World in 12 Maps, by Jerry Brotton

I can’t remember if it was National Bookstore or FullyBooked, but I’m confident its one of the two! FullyBooked.

I have this not-so-secret fascination with cartography. Back when Waze and Google Maps weren’t a thing, I always kept an atlas in my car’s front compartment.

My excuse was that I needed it, but really I just wanted it.

I’ve always found maps pretty. I guess its because it brings me back to the fantasy books of my youth, where the first few pages were dedicated to maps of the places the story will take place.

That said, this book discouragingly doesn’t have a lot of maps (just 12!). It does talk about those maps in detail and covers history as well, so perhaps that makes up for it? We’ll see.

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On the bookshelves this second week of November

Once a week I make a trip to the local bookstore.

I never go there to buy anything. Sometimes I leave my wallet behind, so I can avoid making an impulse buy. I just browse, browse, and browse the aisles.

Sometimes I talk to the sales staff, and ask if they’re carrying a new book I’ve heard about. Or if they have the so-and-so book of an author or series they’re already carrying. Or to ask why they decided to change their display this month.

It hurts a bit to read about Neil Gaiman’s librarians as I don’t have those. I don’t have any book gurus to recommend me books and encourage my reading. The bookstore sales staff are probably the closest I can get. Public libraries are hard to come by where I live, and even the few ones that exist are in a pretty dismal state.

But I’m happy with what I have. The bookstore to me is what the library must have been to the young Neil: A solace. A happy place. I never schedule my trips there, and yet I always end up going mid-week, either on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Always right when I feel like the corporate world is going to gobble me up then spit me out. It’s my hump day reward.

It must be what retail therapy is like, except I don’t have to spend for anything.

When I was making my rounds last week, I thought it’d be interesting to share the books that caught my eye. If others manage to discover a great book through my book haunts then I’d be so happy to be of service! The books below are my finds, along with what it was about them that sparked my interest:

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