Saturday, June 25, 2005

Steps That Lead Down!

I went back to Daegu today in search of my elusive bookstore.

Dripping with sweat, I walked the path described by Pablo. His brief description was burned on the sountrack of my brain: "Cross the street at Outback and walk down the street a bit. You'll see steps that lead down..."

[No, I never went back this last week to ask/beg him to tell me yet again where the bookstore was. That was too humiliating. I did have it in the back of my mind that if I was thwarted yet again, I'd get my other coworker, CanadaBoy, on the phone and get Pablo's number from him. Then, when Pablo heard the edge of tears in my voice he'd come to my rescue with pinpoint directions, like the true gentleman and bookworm that he is.]

I was spared humiliation and the effort of having to generate tears. I found the bookstore! Hooray! As it turns out, Pablo's instructions were perfect...I just hadn't gone far enough either time (I thought I was running out of downtown and had overshot the place!) so I'd never gotten there.

Sigh. It's nice in there.

Unlike Kyobo, it's a lot more spread out. Also, the air conditioning was working well. In addition, the English-language books section wasn't crowded as hell. I'm barely exaggerating when I say that it wouldn't be unusual to come away from Kyobo bruised because of the cramped, crowded space in the English-language books section.

I parked myself on the floor of my new bookstore with a satisfied plop and examined books on the lower shelves. I was happy. Never mind that the Korean guy next to me was singing along to the "Greatest Hits Of Air Supply" with great feeling. That guy knew every word, every note, every subtle nuance of phrasing. To his credit however, he didn't hold that really l-o-n-g note at the very end of "I'm All Out Of Love". I was ready for it, though!

The selection at the new bookstore is similar to Kyobo's, but I did find some books that I hadn't seen before. One was an Abby Fruct novel, LIFE BEFORE DEATH. I almost bought it. It's really hard to find her stuff. This used to annoy me back in Missouri because the book reviewer at the Kansas City Star just raved about Fruct's work.

I also found a biography of Howard Hughes that looked good. Biographies are damn scarce here...I wonder why? I've seen approximately four in seven months: Howard Hughes, Eminem, Sting, and Katherine Graham.

There was also a John Updike novel called SEEK MY FACE that I haven't read yet. I don't know if it's the latest one or not. Anyway, that's the book I bought. You would think that after being denied and thwarted I would've gone hog-wild once I found the store, but I was miraculously able to hold myself in check.

Also, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE is about 4,000 Won cheaper at my new bookstore than it is at Kyobo. If I decide to read this book, I'll get it there.

I left the store feeling quite triumphant and yes, even swaggering a bit. I was silently exulting "Book Goddess! Book Goddess!" in a way that would be reminiscent of "Who's Yo' Daddy?"

I had to walk back by Kyobo, and of course, I was drawn in by forces that have had possession of my bookwormy soul since even my pre-literate days, so why fight it or deny it? At Kyobo, I bought a handy-dandy little pocket-sized Korean phrasebook. It's published by Lonely Planet and looks quite user-friendly.

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