I was visiting a friend in Oxford recently, and, after mooching around for a little while we headed to a book shop. Inside, we came across a lucky dip, where the books are wrapped up so that you can’t see the title, author or cover, with a brief synopsis or recommendation from the booksellers as to why you should read it.
Now, I’m of the opinion that the cover is an excellent way of judging a book (despite a popular saying to the contrary!) and the lucky dip experience seeks to remove this element from the book buying process. That said, I do love surprises, and getting to unwrap something makes it feel like a present, which is a lovely feeling. So on seeing this, I had to take part. My friend and I spent some time picking up each book, reading the summary, and I eventually settled on this:
A bit later in the day, we stopped for lunch, and, being unable to contain my excitement any longer (I’m a bit like a child when it comes to presents) I opened it up. I’d bought Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami.
Reading the blurb, this isn’t something that I’d usually pick up, and so I was pleasantly surprised by the result. I’ll post a review soon.
So, would you buy a book without knowing what it is? I think that lucky dips are a lovely idea, and it surprises me that more places don’t do it. I think that the main argument against it is the risk of buying something that you already own or have read. But surely a standard returns policy would cover that? And isn’t it worth the risk to discover something new?