#LockedInABookshop – The Books I Would Read if I Found Myself in the Position of the #WaterstonesOne

Most of you will have undoubtedly heard about the luck misfortune of David Willis who suffered the amazing awful ordeal of being accidentally locked into the Trafalgar Square store of Waterstones for a few hours before, having tweeted, he was rescued. The most amazing thing I found about this story was that he actually told anyone that he was stuck in there, I wouldn’t have. If you haven’t been to the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones it is one of my favourites, floors and floors of books, loads of stationery, comfy armchairs and a wonderful cafe and restaurant. It would be a dream to spend a night, let alone two hours, stuck in there. We have all surely had that thought of hiding somewhere in a bookshop and waiting to be locked in haven’t we? I would have had a good old wander through the store and picked up some books to read, made a cocktail or two at the bar and headed for a comfy sofa for the evening. I certainly wouldn’t do this…

Waterstones have themselves blogged amusingly about the types of books they would recommend if you were stuck in there for two hours. Kate of Adventures with Words, has gone for a list of five books that she would recommend if you were stuck in there the whole night, or maybe with her list if you were stuck in there for a few days – maybe over Christmas, if you really want to avoid the family (light bulb goes on in head). I thought I would be a bit different and so have come up with the top five books I might read if I was lucky enough to have the wonderful ordeal myself…

Finish the book I am currently reading…

I know this might sound really boring but before I could even consider reading anything else I would have to finish the current book I was reading. I am a real stickler for being monogamous with books, unless you are reading something really, really long (be it fiction or not) and have something very different to read between. At the moment that would mean finishing off Sacred Country (my hands automatically always type scared, what does that say about me?) by Rose Tremain which I mentioned I was reading yesterday. I am really enjoying this thought provoking novel of a young girl who aged 6 decides she wants to be a boy, so that would stand me in good stead for a while. So that would be my first port of call, the T section for Tremain. Oh and don’t even question if it would be in stock, Waterstones Trafalgar Square has almost every book in the world in it.

Go and grab that book by a favourite author I have been saving for a rainy day/saving for being locked in a bookshop…

We all do it, don’t we? We buy books by our very favourite authors that we leave languishing on a shelf because we know that there will at some point be that just right rainy day, or night locked in a bookshop, when we will turn to that book because we know it will be brilliant. I have a few contenders for that title; Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, and Music for Chameleon’s by Truman Capote, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. That’s a list of five books in its own right so for the sake of this exercise I will pick just one… Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood would be my choice today.

The book that everyone else seems to be going on about and I haven’t read yet…

This would easily be We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves  by Karen Joy Fowler. I wanted to read it when it came out. Then I heard the spoiler twist, which I won’t spoil, and still really wanted to read it. Then almost everyone seemed to be reading it. Then it was long and shortlisted for the Man Booker and the whole world seems to have read it but me, even my aunty text me this very morning asking if I knew the ‘yellow and black book with ourselves in the title’. Not everyone loves it, my dear friend Tracy Trim – as I like to call her – is struggling at the mo, and some people downright hate it. I still feel it is a book I need to read, so I would get that from the entrance hall where it’s bound to be on several tables.

A book completely at random…

As I am in a bookstore and have potentially read a book or two and a half by now, I would probably need a longer wander than just to the bar or the loos to stretch my legs. So I would go and just have a wander and see what randomly took my fancy. Quite probably something short and in translation!

That big bloody classic I have always meant to read…

Yes I am talking about that masterpiece that everyone else has read, probably twice, and I just haven’t. For some people it is Moby Dick (it’s boat based, I will never read this book, I am at one with that fact), for some it is War and Peace (which my mother waited until she was on maternity leave, awaiting the arrival my sister, to crack) for some it is Crime and Punishment or one of the other Russian greats. For me it is Gone With The Wind. I took it away with me to the US and came back with having made a small, rather pathetic, 150 page dent in it. The bookmark is still stuck in page 150. I need to be stranded somewhere to read it from cover to cover properly because while I was enjoying it, now back home I have so many other books to choose from. Oh, I have seen a major flaw with this choice… Let’s move on.

So if you were to be locked in a bookshop over night which books would you go and find and read? Which books, like Kate, would you recommend to others? I haven’t done this because there are only so many times I can mention Rebecca on this blog in a post and sometimes I worry I am in danger of reaching that limit. And this last question almost seems silly to even ask, but would you actually tell anyone? I think I would simply stay in there all night and wait for the staff to arrive the next day.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

38 responses to “#LockedInABookshop – The Books I Would Read if I Found Myself in the Position of the #WaterstonesOne

  1. Great post with some brilliant ideas here! As a bookseller in the Oxford branch of Waterstones, I would love to have a lock-in to sit and read all the books that catch my eye on a daily basis! If its any conciliation, I’ve not managed to read We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves either – we’re a definite minority though!

    • Ha I think we are in the Fowler minority indeed Hannah! Though I doubt very much we are in one with regard to dreaming of being locked in a bookshop – though maybe you’d choose a different branch rather than your work one, just for the change of scene?

      • I have to agree with you actually, I know where most things are in my branch so would miss out on randomly stumbling across a gem. My current favourite is Foyles on Charing Cross Rd, every time I’m in London, I have to go in! What about you, any particular favourite bookshops?

      • Oh I have a special love for Foyles, Deansgate Waterstones and Scarthin Books.

  2. kaggsysbookishramblings

    What a heavenly thought – locked in a bookshop. Foyles for my choice too – they have masses of Pushkin Press books plus I’ve always thought you can’t go wrong with Penguin Classics – I coul happily read my way through a shelf or two of those!! 🙂

  3. Fay

    I barely want to leave when they close the store. If I managed to ‘luckily’ get locked in there would not be a peep out of me let alone a tweet! Phone would be off and I’d get my read on!

    I think I would finish Anna Karenina first as have been meaning to for so long! Obviously with a cold G&T in hand!

  4. sharkell

    My top 5 would try to read some books from my wish list, which would include a novel by John McGahern (I’ve only read two of his so far), Floundering by Romy Ash which I have heard is brilliant, The Expedition to the Baobab Tree by Wilma Stockensrtöm, Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell and Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo. I’m jealous of anyone who works in a bookshop!

  5. Pingback: Books for being trapped in a bookstore | born and read

  6. Great post! Indeed it should have been you locked in there!
    I suppose Readathons (such as the big one in progress now) are attempts to create a lock-in of sorts amongst our own books–but it isn’t the same!

  7. Be great chance to read a few books for free I would of course choose something in translation

  8. drharrietd

    Great post. I love your choices. Alias Grace is a great novel. If you’re going to read Anna Karenina do go for the new OUP Classics translation, highly regarded. I’d probably waste a lot of time rushing around trying to make up my mind, pull things off the shelves and see if the first paragraph grabbed me, and be unable to remember anything I thought I really wanted to read. But whatever I picked, I’d be happy to settle down for a quiet night/few days…? as long as there was something to eat and drink, of course.

  9. I wouldn’t have tweeted, either! Haha! They would have found me curled up, taking a nice nap the next morning. Being locked in a bookstore would be the coolest thing.

    Well, until I got hungry…

  10. As long as there was food and drink accessible without breaking through glass, I’d happily stay. But I think I’d spend a long time frozen with indecision re what to read. So much choice! I struggle sometimes to choose from the 100-odd books on my TBR bookcase. So I’d probably end up using methods much like yours: what is everyone else reading that I haven’t yet; what classics have I been wanting to get round to; and then once I’m warmed up something entirely random. It sounds very tempting!

  11. Thank for this great post – linked in my new book blog
    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, laughed with you, got choked up at the passing of Granny Savidge, and made numerous additions to my TBR list. A great blog.

    • Aww thank you Deborah! Thats really kind and lovely to hear of someone else who was a Granny Savidge fan. She had quite a few, which she loved. I weirdly dreamt of her and my Granddad, Bongy who died six years ago, and that they had bought a new house and couldnt decide what to do with it! I like to think maybe thats what they are doing together, up there somewhere. Oh and welcome to the blogosphere, will have a nosey later!

  12. Pingback: #LockedInABookshop – The Books I Would Read if I Found Myself in the Position of the #WaterstonesOne | cergat

  13. Love this post and absolutely yearn to be locked in Waterstones overnight, for the peace and tranquility and pure indulgence to be able to just curl up and read all those books that are calling out to me. Love your category breakdown to select your five books… am working on mine now.

  14. Yay Atwood and I don’t blame you for still drawing out Gone with the Wind. It took me ages to finally read it and I will not be revisiting it.

  15. quinn

    that’s a brilliant idea…..i just heard that disneyland rents out for your solo pleasure at $250/hr…..so waterstone’s etc would be nuts not to jump on this and rent out for the eve….maybe lock up the bar 🙂 Bet we see this soon..can’t wait.
    i read GWTW as kid cause my non reader mom said it meant lots to her as kid and she was cool like Grans S. looking forward to reread decades later now.
    i wouldn’t read anythg in my home pile of TBR, cause that’s waiting for the next blizzard (ok i live in desert, so this might not work)….so may do that first paragraph thing…my fav.
    thanks for fun post as always…quinn

  16. When I was a child, I dreamt of being locked up in a museum (perhaps as a result of reading ‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler’), but have to admit a bookshop is even better (less creepy, too). I would never have called for help. In fact, they might have needed the fire brigade to dislodge me from there in the morning…

  17. If you were looking to sleep in the bookstore then you do right to choose Alias Grace and Gone with the Wind. I love Atwood, but find AG really boring and GWTW, well you know how I feel about tha.

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