I’m not an impulse buyer. Having grown up poor, I tend to walk into stores with a list firmly in hand and I don’t deviate from it. Advertising has virtually no impact. I don’t pay attention to ads unless they’re for things I know I need, and even then I shut them out most of the time. I do let my guard down in independent bookstores, however. So it was that I found in Aaron’s Books in Lititz, Your Guide To Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village. It was totally an impulse buy, easily read in a sunny afternoon in a caboose motel. Or a rainy afternoon in an English manor house. Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper have produced a wonderfully witty illustrated guide here. It helps to have lived in the United Kingdom for a few years.
Shelved face out in the thriller section, it’s a great opportunity for murder-mystery, gothic literature, horror movie fan types to laugh at themselves. Some parts are snort out loud funny. Okay, so I was on staycation and being a bit free with cash for a change, but I’m sure I will keep this one near my desk and turn back to it from time to time. Maureen Johnson is known for her young adult novels and Jay Cooper is a children’s book illustrator. Their talents, however, work together incredibly well for this slightly naughty guilty pleasure read. The Wicker Man even gets a nod or two. Something that those who disdain horror don’t often realize is that it quite frequently has its own sense of humor. It’s an intelligent genre that doesn’t take itself too seriously. At times it does, of course, but those of us who are fans can tell fantasy from real life. Maybe.
Independent bookstores are starting to make a comeback. A significant part of our population isn’t on board with retailers trying to convert everyday life to the metaverse. We want to hear our music with the occasional pop and microphone hiss. We want to drive our own cars. We want to browse in actual bookstores. Given my buying record online, I have to laugh every time I look at the recommendations. The electronic world brain doesn’t know me very well at all. It assumes it knows why I bought that ladder or that round blank four-inch stamped electrical cover. Some of us play in nontraditional ways with such things. And we get ideas from wandering into independent bookstores. As long as they’re not in quaint English villages.