I’ve been excited about the newest take on Murder on the Orient Express since the day I saw its trailer. To get into the mood for murder, I thought about doing a post on five of the very best, grey-matter-annihilating mysteries penned down by Agatha Christie. With only two in hand and having lost the others at the hands of friends and family who borrow enthusiastically and suffer from memory loss when it comes to returning them, I headed towards the nearest Liberty Books to buy the other three.
[Yes, I know, I could have looked up stock images but I like taking my own photographs.]
So we walk into Liberty Books next to BBQ Tonight and march towards the Mystery Section as if there’s a homing device beckoning us, and within ten seconds my heart sank because they had a total of….nine books by Agatha Christie.
First of all, my heart shattered. I believe I heard glass breaking in the background.
Second of all, what a disgrace! Just a handful of Agatha Christies in the mystery section? Aisa karogay tou kaun ayega?
While I decided to mope, Shoaib chose to wander around and literally two steps to his left was a shelf titled Blind Date with Books. Wrapped in brown paper with typography under tightly taped sheets of clear plastic with a slim red ribbon snaking around them, sat numerous books just waiting to be picked.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this idea but I was blown away by this. I haven’t bought a single book since KLF. We are already housing more books than our shelves can take. No joke, I have books stacked under lamps and décor items to make some breathing room on the shelves. But cabinets and forgotten bags around the house just keep popping out manuscripts. *insert genuine, frustrated sigh*
I digress. Back to the blind date!
It took me a few minutes to gather my wits and resume the persona of a composed intellectual I pretend to be most of the time. Shoaib said something about going down to the basement but I wasn’t really paying attention; I see him every day. These blind dates had me fully engaged.
There’s a tiny teaser printed on the back, winking at you with plenty of charm and just the right amount of intrigue to start a conversation. So you simply choose the one that speaks to you the most and prepare yourself to cuddle the night away with a manuscript you haven’t met before.
I believe there are five blind dates to choose from, with only one being fiction and the other four being non-fiction from different categories. I figured what most of them would be on the inside. I mean, it’s not exactly like a murder on a train stuck in a snowstorm.
And finally I spotted something with the promise of covert operations and saving the world type stuff happening between the sheets of paper. If I can’t find myself an elegant mystery at the heart of a fancy party, I’ll find solace with assassins and spies.
Couldn’t wait to get back home, make my chai and discover who was hiding inside! The easiest part is untying the bow. What follows is a struggle; your nails clawing at the tape and plastic. It’s not a slick process. If you’re the kind who saves the wrapping paper or is just looking for a clean way in….nope, not today.
Meet my blind date:
As much as I love the idea, Shoaib and I both are of the opinion that Liberty Books needs to curate their selection of blind dates. The Bourne Initiative was published this year and the while the intention behind it being a blind date is not to clear out old stock, it is the fourteenth installment in the series! You see how that missing backstory will hamper my relationship with this guy. UNLESS….. the plan is to make me buy the other thirteen?
Khair. We absolutely adore the idea of going out on a blind date with a book! I’ve seen numerous tumblr posts and pins about people buying each other books rather than drinks, travelers hiding books in unsuspecting places and other romantic, poetic ideas that incorporate the exchange of books into our daily lives. But I’ve never witnessed something like this in Karachi before!
As I write this, I’ve just been informed on Facebook that this was an idea started by The Last Word in Lahore for Valentine’s Day (thanks, Ovais!). If I can go cuckoo over this concept on a mundane Tuesday, I can only imagine my fervent reaction to blind dates with books on the 14th of February. Uff.
Please get your hands on a mystery manuscript, if not for the book then for the thrill of it. Also, what a lovely birthday gift!