Five books #WaterstonesTexan could have read instead of tweeting for help

Last night, an American tourist in London was accidentally locked in the Trafalgar Square branch of Waterstones when it closed at 9 PM. Or as any book lover would call it, LIVING THE DREAM. (I mean, I have literally had multiple, detailed daydreams about that happening to me.) However, instead of seeing this incident as, oh, I don’t know, the best moment of his entire life, David Willis (who quickly became known on Twitter as #WaterStonesTexan) started taking Instagram photos and tweeting about his plight (#thestruggleisreal, you guys). He doesn’t even mention reading a book.

And I get it, he wanted to see his girlfriend, it seems like he triggered a loud alarm, and maybe he was hoping for something more substantial than a Costa sandwich for dinner. But what if he hadn’t panicked, had texted his gf to say he was about to have one of the best nights of his life, and had curled up on a couch and chilled the eff out instead? Well, if he’d chosen to actually take advantage of the amazing opportunity, here are five books he could’ve read…

1. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

After Clay Jennon loses his job in the recession, he starts working the night shift at a mysterious book shop full of dusty old volumes that no one ever seems to buy. Confused, curious, and helped by a young woman who works for Google, he sets about trying to find out what exactly is going on…

2. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

Get a taste of just how odd the British public can be, and just how much booksellers have to put up with via this funny and at times cringey book (no, she can’t just read you the first chapter of that novel, she’s got things to do). When he’d finished, David could’ve revelled in saying as many weird things as he wanted. Although probably not weirder than ‘Excuse me…is this book edible?’

3. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

Set in the same tiny American town as Adriana Trigiani’s gorgeous Big Stone Gap series, this is the true story of a couple who opened a bookshop at the height of the recession, with no sales knowledge, in a poor part of the country, and put everything they had into making it work.

4. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee

Part memoir, part history of some of the most iconic bookshops in the world (Shakespeare & Co in Paris, City Lights in San Francisco…), this account of book-loving and bookselling captures the joy of an afternoon spent browsing the shelves with nowhere else to go.

5. Bookshops by Markus Hattstein

David shouldn’t have to limit himself. There are some beautiful bookshops around the world, many of them independent. This book shows off some of the most interesting and unique, any of which might have staff who’d lock him in without a second glance. Time to start planning another trip…

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Diane Shipley