There are probably infinite ways to choose your next reading. But I have one of my own. It´s a kind of ritual, it doesn´t matter if it´s a library or a bookstore. I stand in front of the books for a while and walk around with my eyes. I try to familiarize with that nice context, with the smell and with my soul.
I might be a messy reader. So I start my journey depending on the mood that I might have the day I get into that paradise. For example if I feel smooth and romantic, I like to go to the classics. Or if I´m on a kind of scientific phase, I choose essays. It doesn´t matter the area. I always walk through the shelves and enjoy the colors, the fonts and the titles.
You have to be honest. We always hear that you don´t judge a book by it´s cover. But I find it as a part of the book, it will define your personality as a reader. You can have a soft cover o a hard cover, big fonts or small ones. Sizes and book cover colors will define your little personal library. You might find weird covers or boring - serious ones. They have to seduce you as a reader not as a buyer.
Finally I slide my fingers through the ones that seduce me. I touch them, and admire them. I start to wonder and to read the description. If the title is weird enough or interesting I take it. I´m almost there to take it with me, but I have to find the index before I take it.
I might not buy or take hundreds of them. But I love to open some of them and enjoy five minutes beside the letters of well known writers. Sometimes beside Sabato or Cortázar. There were some days that I have spent my time beside Giddens, Popper or Naomi Klein. It will depend of my budget. If I´m lucky some of those will sleep next to me that same day…
I might not know hundreds of libraries or bookshops, but the ones I know, I always find them very interesting and inspiring. It doesn´t matter the type of bookstore or library because I probably have found infinite ways to choose the next reading in each one of them. But lately, as I grew up I have defined or found that I have a kind of ritual to look for the next book that will have the honor to come home with me.
The first encounter was when I was around seven years old. It was the school library. I remember that it consisted in two large rooms with a hall as an entrance. You could find on the first shelf all sort of language dictionaries. Once you got into the first room you could find like eight different shelves and an awesome big window that showed the outside garden. There were bean bags all over the floor and you were able to just take a book and read during the breaks or at lunch time. Or even with your library card you could take one home.
Since I was seven years old I had to go to the last room. It was pretty much the same design as the first one, but all the shelves were children books. I don´t remember how I found it, not event the title of the book, just the characters. It was in German and I loved it to much that when the return time came I didn´t return it. The books where kind of expensive for my parents that I had the idea that if I kept that book, nobody will notice and I wouldn´t make my parents worry about buying me at least this awesome and colorful book. But the school semester ended and I had to return it when the librarian told them what had happened. It was an awful mistake. They had to pay this huge fee and return the book that I kept under my bed.
After that mistake, I was scared or probably very ashamed of what I´d done so I didn´t went back to the school library for about three years. I just kept reading during november and december the next year school books. And sometimes I used to get a book as a present. But I wanted more… I had to get back to the school library…