Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books and Bookstores

I realised last night, as I was about to sleep, that I neglected to review this book, which I had to wait many many weeks to get (building up all my anticipation). But, since I couldn't just jump out of bed to write a review (ok, I could, but I'd get into a lot of trouble with my family), I decided to wait until morning to post. (:

The King's English (TKE) by Betsy Burton is subtitled "Adventures of an Independent Bookseller" and was bought, ironically, over Amazon (instead of an independent bookshop like Littered with Books). Unlike my past purchases, I actually had to wait an inordinately long time to get this book ): But when I finally got it (: I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas reading it~ And it was as good as expected.

Because I really like books, and I think Business is fun, I have considered opening up my own bookstore. But, I'll probably end up working another job. However, if you're going to read TKE to learn how to operate a bookstore, this is not the right book. This book is a chronicle of one store's personal experience (in working with partners, fighting against the Big Chains like Borders, Barns and Noble, etc) rather than a How-To guide. But as for me, I prefer reading this "mini-memoir" because it seems more personal. And anyway, if you want to learn how to run a business, you can always pick up a business book.

This book is warm and engaging, and recommends lots of books to read. (I did, however, end up skipping over lots of lists in order to continue reading the narrative.

I originally titled this post "The King's English (Betsy Burton)", but as soon as I wrote the words 'mini-memoir', I was reminded of yet another book I read recently "Reading Lolita in Tehran", which is subtitled "A memoir in books". Hence, the new title "Books and Bookstores".

The premise of Reading Lolita in Tehran is of an Iranian Literature Professor, and her life teaching (if I remember correctly) Modern History. She taught through the Revolution, and by what she writes, she sounds like an amazing teacher, as she managed to get her students to think beyond the norm, as seen when she let them put The Great Gatsby "on trial" when a student condemned it, instead of immediately taking a position.

This book, apart from giving me a another literary perspective on books (such as reading Lolita not so much as the rape of a little girl, but as the imprisonment of one life by another), is also a social commentary on Iran at those times. The author writes about how she refused to wear the veil, explaining that it was her personal decision, and she refused to turn the veil into a political symbol. By also describing the lives of some of her students, she also lets the reader see how the Iranian government has taken 'control' over their lives, in a manner that reminds me of Fahrenheit 451.

This book is many things, a memoir, a social commentary, a history book (it does chronicle the lives of people during a historical event, so I think it can be considered a history book), but most of all, it should be read as a book about literature, and how literature has the power to change ways of thinking (which can lead to changed lives).

No comments :

Post a Comment

I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!