22 Jun 2013
The art of bokshooping
bokshoop verb: To express a bibliophilia delimited from physical books themselves, most commonly achieved by spending a day in a bookshop. An means of appreciating the emergent properties that thousands of books in one place exhibit.
I spent today in a bookshop, Daunt Books by Holland Park. I spent most of today being extremely content with my lot.
Why was it so very good?
I don’t know. I didn’t actually read that much, but I could have read any one of those books. I’ve hundreds of books lined up to read, many of which will be fascinating and life changing, but I spend half of my time looking at funny pictures on the internet. I’m beginning to suspect a lot of my time was spent thinking about how good reading all of the books would be, thoughts that often prevented me from paying proper attention to the book in front of me. My idea of reading a book diverged from its actuality: I remembered all of the wonderful little insights, those magical moments where the author reaches something deep inside you. I didn’t remember re-reading sentences time and time again after not comprehending them. I did remember getting more and more excited as a story arc reaches is climax and all the threads weave a wonderful pattern. I didn’t remember all of those books that ended before I realised, without any sense of having come any where. In short, my idea of what it is to read a book was highly idealised, the very best of the experiences.
That in itself is a funny idea - that we’re creatures that can be more excited by the idea of something than the event itself.
One of my dearest friends works there, which helps, and she’s responsible for the beautiful re-interpretation of the word bookshop as bokshoop, which I hope she doesn’t mind me appropriating to this particular definition. I bokshooped hard for a lot of the day, reading through the beautiful big expensive books that don’t fit on the coffee table I don’t own. Like her the bookshop held an atmosphere of tranquility, a safe haven from the city around as much as a haven from introspection. London is full of stimuli barging into one’s life, always leaves me feeling sensually assaulted. Within the confines of a quiet(ish) bookshop I was the one in control, but not over anything particularly important - I could choose which books to pick up, which covers to have my eye caught by, which chapters to skim and select.
Unfortunately, I wish to possess my cake as well consume it. My Kindle is alarmingly close to becoming an extension of me, always carried around and ready with a library of books ready to be opened at any moment. I despise the thought that my love of the technological wizardry might kill the art of bokshooping.
J at 14:40