The other day, I was going through one of my favorite bookstores, looking for a title that was written by a certain writer.
To be exact, I was going through Liberty Bookstore’s website, looking for Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. And unfortunately I could not find it. Hence the post. It’s essential to let people know (whether they read my site or not, I don’t care), that there are books of writers that they have no idea about and that could be much better to read than the ones they’re already reading.
Take the example of Stephen King. No doubt he is a dynamic writer, and yes, he has written many many books, and most of them must be worth reading. But why did he write “On Writing”?? According to me, he wrote the book so that people like me, who needed as much guidance as we can get, can find answers to some unanswered and unnerving questions that only writers face. And do we have it in the store? Nope. I knew once that he writes horror books, but when I read a few forums and some reviews here and there, I also saw he writes suspense, thriller and mystery novels. I got a few for myself, in fact and am reading them right now. But though I see he has written more than a hundred books, the store, the only store in my country who gives the option of cash on delivery, has less than 50 books, and none of them is “On Writing”.
Another one that had my head spinning out of control, was that when I went to the Karachi International Book Fair in December, I found, to my ultimate shock and surprise, that they had no idea about the book called the “Elements of Style”, the ENGLISH book that tells you about the styles of WRITING and not FASHION. When I asked for it, I was led to a book by the same name, totally styled in gold, and which was on the different styles and fashion, and all about attire trends only. The disappointment and the great amount of shock I received that day was enormous and wasn’t comparative to any other I may have faced previously.
Another series of books that I really desired strongly and was unable to find in the bookstore was the “Mary Westmacott” books written by Agatha Christie. Yes, the Queen of Crimes! Her fans would already know that she had written six novels under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott, to prove that it wasn’t just her name or her mysteries that would be loved by people and that she was capable of romance as well – for those six books were romantic books.
It is very annoying and inconvenient for the fans, book lovers and readers of these authors when they do not find the book that they want, even though it is by the same writer and should be well known by the book store, if they do keep a book of an author, they shouldn’t be influenced by what the “world” reads, but keep all the books of that author, regardless of whether it was as famous as the other one.
Books are alive, I heard, and I believe in this very strongly, being a writer myself, I know that the story that is told in a book has been at one time been alive in the writer’s head. The writer not only knows the words of the story that he writes, he knows exactly what he has created. If he has described an environment, there is a picture of that environment in his mind, same goes for the character, as well as the scene: his characters do and say his dialogs and his described actions like they would in a movie or real life. I feel it is very important to know about a writer’s famous as well as less famous works. His work can be famous because of a certain element in the book, but you never know which book he had worked harder for. It has happened many times that the more famous works of certain writers have been written in lesser time than the less popular books.
That is the reason that I feel it is unfair to have only a few titles of a writer in a bookstore. If it is a “bookstore”, it should act like a bookstore and have all the books instead of acting like a “promotional store” that has only those books of the author by which he is making more money.
The values of books and bookstores alike should be changed. Books are of much more value than merely being items of interest and a way of earning. They are treasures! And a bookstore, therefore, is a treasure hold. It should either have everything in a particular treasure category, or none at all. Just as a piece of jewellery would look idiotic with incomplete design, a bookstore seems stupid to have a part of the work of an author.