Like many bloggers, I am also a reader. Though since being in the gulf, I have not read as much. Why? Simply put, I good bookstore is hard to find (if not impossible). Back home in the states, we have many mainstream bookstores, namely Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders. There are also plenty of independent bookstores that offer both character and atmosphere, especially if they sell coffee. Most important, there are public libraries, of varying qualities, close to where you live that can at least offer you the latest best sellers.
Unfortunately, repositories of knowledge are absent in my current home. A public library? I’ve never heard of it here. A good bookstore? Forget it. Last year, I went to a Virgin Megastore outlet and indeed they had a small book section where you could find selected works of fiction. And, just yesterday, I found the the one major bookstore in this country. Sure, it looked like a proper bookstore. There were shelves full of books, but also computers, school supplies, office stationary, and games. Towards the back, I found the English books’ section. Yes! I thought. I perused the shelves and after about 20 minutes I was disappointed. Number one, I immediately went to the cookbook (or cookery for the British out there) section and did not a find a soup cookbook that I have been desperately looking for. Number two, the non-fiction section was comprised of half of a shelf and it seemed to be filled with tell-all books, i.e. how I escaped from my abusive husband/country. I looked at the fiction section, but I realized something. I can’t buy fiction. I haven’t been able to read a novel in nearly a year. I keep buying them thinking I will sit down and read, but I don’t. I guess I can’t deal with invented stories. I must read about real people and their stories. To that effect, I walked away with The Autobiography of Malcom X and Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle (Kingsolver). As if I could anticipate the lack of suitable nonfiction reading available locally, I ordered some books from my good friend, Mr. bn.com, last week.