A Veiled Chick’s Outbursts comprise writings of a more personal nature about my experiences or issues that exasperate me be it something I heard, read, watched, witnessed or observed. It is my way of letting off some steam, my incensed breathings.
A BIBLIOPHILE’S NIGHTMARE
MY DISILLUSIONING TRIP
The first thing I do in any town I come to is ask if it has a bookstore.
~ Robert Lee Frost
The best gift is one of words and what better than that of a good book for us to immerse and lose ourselves in. It ignites our intellectuality, imagination and creativity, and rouses our minds to places exclusively our own and deepens our thinking and knowledge.
What makes books that much more special for avid readers is the anticipation of a trip to the bookshop to amble the aisles, nourish our eyes with the extensive selections and the smell and feel of the book(s).
THE SCARCITY OF BOOKSHOPS
One luxury in life I spoil myself with periodically is browsing bookshops, in the hopes of not walking out empty-handed.
Where I currently reside, bookshops are scarce – a heartbreaker for book-lovers – so the few that are available providing books in the English language become that much more valuable.
To my deep disappointment, my last refuge as an insatiable bibliophile, the option is slowly waning.
Fictional books of various genres and nonfictional books intellectual in nature have dwindled considerably – putting aside the writing quality – with hardly any options for keen readers.
Whilst sauntering the aisles, I noticed the number of books, and those of specific genres, were disproportionate with more choices favouring cooking, wellbeing, biographies, some for educational purposes, selective (and in some cases chauvinistic) religious books, etc., leaving much to be desired for readers who crave and relish books to quench their imagination and cerebral mind.
There was already a prevailing problem with the dearth of decent reading material but to have choices diminishing, in the so few bookshops, is just outright offensive.
Love of books and reading are mainly learned habits and the decline in choices simply emanates the message bookshops and books are not so important – unless for entertainment and wasting time.
This could be one reason, from many crucial ones, why it is difficult to find children and adults in Qatar who appreciate books and love reading.
Is it a wonder?
Seeing the billboards on my way home – and recalling the nonsense that is available to watch and read – I became incensed.
The bombardment of advertisements about fashion, food, inconsequential personalities, how to “fake” your way into life to fit in, and the likes, have taken over allowing consumerism, materialism and superficiality to devour their way into our lives devoid of any substance, and intellectual and mental stimulation.
Books are hardly, if ever, advertised.
The availability and accessibility of books and bookshops and the sheer essence of reading, once upon a time a rare luxury, now within our grasp – hard copy and electronically – are taken for granted and dismissed.
These days, the ambition to look the best and be noticed, – for all the wrong reasons I might add – not mentioning the constant pursuing of degrees without gaining true applicable knowledge (that is for another outburst), seems to have quashed the importance of bookshops, books and reading.
Books seem to be mere commodities – and only that.
What happened to reading a quality book in a cosy nook, to spend time wisely, away from the constant noise and incessant chatter?
Whenever I feel down, one place of solace is, was, a bookshop to revel in and to get lost in the world of books.
However, what was once my one savouring indulgence, my means for repose, is no longer a viable option in Qatar.
It adds to the already existing and growing ache as a nature-loving person who loves the four seasons, walking whilst being warmed and nourished by the greens and colours of the creation of Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى, and self-service, which are not available in Qatar for geographical and societal reasons. To have bookshops dwindling, makes it even harder to make life enjoyable in little Qatar especially as I am not into consumerism, fashion, food or materialism.
On the upside, I am grateful for the increase in art supplies, which will help to alleviate some of the ache even if fleetingly – I am an optimistic person so I will always look for the positive Al-Ĥamdu-Lilâh.
My primary option for investing in books – to read and then adorn my home with – is to order online. Although I am not averse to online shopping (I prefer it in many cases than actual shopping particularly as an introvert), to be deprived of the pure bliss of embracing copiously crammed shelves cradling snuggled books almost on the verge of toppling with their enticing pages, is distressingly grim.
My recent disillusioned journey to the bookshop has made me that much more nostalgic for the UK, where I was born and bred, more so London, where bookshops (and libraries) are aplenty ready to embrace a bibliophilic creature like me and lure me away to get lost, for a moment in time, amongst, and with, timeless friends.
One of the tests of a good city is the quality of its bookstores.