Surely there can be nothing more enjoyable than walking into a bookshop on a dreary grey day armed with £15 worth of tokens and the assistance of the most enthusiastic sales assistant I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with? As I won the tokens for a Writing for Children competition I thought it was only fitting to spend them on some top YA and 8-12 novels, and the shelves were literally bulging with goodies. (So tightly packed, in fact, that one needs two hands in order to prize a book out from between its bedfellows.) I’d forgotten how pleasurable it is just to browse, judging a book by its cover alone rather than by price, 5 star reviews or the recommendations of the Amazon robot.
The first book to catch my eye was The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt. I knew nothing of the title or the author, but the cover features a wonderfully sinister jointed doll pointing to the word ‘Lies’, and the blurb is poetically creepy – “Hold your breath, because the little coachman with the razor sharp knife is coming.” One to be read in a light, crowded room I think!
It’s always a joy to find a new book by a favourite author, and Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan looks wonderful. With its steam punk style cover, raised silver title and quote from the Sunday Telegraph – “When a book pursues you into your dreams, you can’t ignore it” – it promises to be an intriguing read. Westerfeld’s Uglies quartet is an inventive, action packed read and I know he won’t disappoint.
And for my third choice, it was really time to catch up with the third volume of Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series, The Faceless Ones, especially with the fourth book already out in hardback. Landy combines laughter, horror and action with ease – although what’s happened to the colour-tipped pages? I prefer the look of my other two volumes with their distinctive orange and green edges.
A gold star for Waterstones, then, for not only giving me a great 3 for 2 deal but also recommending a host of new books for the next time I’m in store. Chris Priestly, Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book and the last Chaos Walking book by Patrick Ness await my next visit. Perhaps it’s time to give up my murky Amazon Sellers habit for good.