When I Paid Seventeen Bucks for a Book with No Name

Would you ever buy a book without knowing the title, the author, or even the plot? I did.

The independent bookstore downtown is a quirky little place. It’s where I take all my visitors for the tradition of taking their “YAY!” magnet pictures, and beyond books in genres like yoga-gardening and nude watercolors, you can also peruse an entire bookshelf of novels wrapped in plain brown paper with only themes from the contents within lining the cover.

It’s like a blind date. With a book.

The new Tom who has lost some of his #RunningTo whimsy once looked at that bookshelf and scoffed. “Seventeen bucks for an unknown novel?! Bah humbug! Brussel sprouts!”

But the new Tom hoping to rediscover his whimsy started thumbing through all the different available options. Words like “adventurous” and “classic” and “foreboding” written in black Sharpie jumped out at me from the brown book covers masking identities from the ceiling to the floor.

I held onto a couple possibilities as I continued perusing for my blind book date, and one struck all the right chords:

tragic

passionate

ruggedly beautiful

wistful

dark

gripping

mournful

ruggedly beautiful (written again)

I had my date. I put back the other options and went to the register and paid seventeen bucks for a book whose title and author and plot I didn’t know. A book whose unknown identity seemed to call out to my own identity.

I stepped out of the store and unwrapped my date.

It was One Foot in Eden by a guy named Ron Rash. The blurb goes:

Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of Ron Rash, one the most mature and distinctive voices in Southern literature.

I’ve not started reading yet, but the title alone had me sold upon first rip. I’m all about Eden imagery, after all. I can’t wait to read my blind date soon.

My whimsy well was running dry. I need to keep refilling it.

Drawing whimsy from whatever next well or turn or bookshelf awaits me.

This is Day 28 of #MakeNovemberTolerable. Keep checking back every day this month for new stories and discoveries of beauty where beauty may be hard to find.