Making Time: Bookshops - Where You Can Make the GREAT ESCAPE
Carton, Donna, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
There's only one place to dash in out of the rain - a book shop. Rushing inside, away from the throng of people and the roar of traffic, is like stepping into another world.
Like Mr Ben in the changing room, adventure awaits.
You can meander in a book shop and browse and sample without interruption.
Ask for help and you get it. Don't and no bored sales assistant is going to follow you round the store, offering nuggets of annoying sales patter, like they do in clothes shops.
An overly made-up, irritating 18 year old isn't going to appear at your shoulder every time you lift a book and mutter insincerely, `Oh thats definitely you. I know you'd really enjoy that book, it really is your type of read.'
You just get to walk about for as long as you want - alone, anonymous and absorbed. You can dip in and out of personal growth, travel, fiction, cookery and adopt a myriad of personas as you go.
For five minutes you're the intrepid traveller as you scour the guides to far flung exotic islands.
For a while you're DIYist of the year, as you redecorate the entire house while flicking through the pages of a great big fabulously glossy hardback full of glorious inspiration on fabrics, furnishings and startlingly simple (seemingly) paint effects.
Yes, definitely. You're going to B&Q on the way home and the kitchen will be fit for a House & Home feature by the weekend.
Well, maybe next weekend. This weekend you might go boating or hiking, or both.
Hell, you'll leave the home make-over for a month, take a sabbatical from your boring job, fly to America, rent a car and take a coast road. Never mind B&Q. On the way home you're going to the nearest luggage store and travel agent.
If the boss won't give you a month off, then you'll tell him to stuff his poxy job, call him a petty dictator, a personality you're sure he developed on account of his teensy penis, walk out and slam the door.