Things from this book I actually heard while working at a bookstore:"Where's your true fiction section?"
(To this day I have no idea what the person meant.)"You must get so much time to read, just sitting here surrounded by books."
(I once had a customer assume I'd read everything in the store. It was a relatively small bookstore rather than one of the big chains, but still -- not cool to be indignant that I haven't read every
title we stock.)"I'm looking for a book for my son. He's only seven but he's so advanced; it's like he has the brain of a twenty-year-old. What would you recommend?"
(Proud parents and grandparents always come in looking for books for a child of a certain age -- but said child is, of course, so gifted that he needs something much more intellectual than the idiotic stuff kids his age usually read. Ugh. Don't get me started on the woman who insisted her eight-year-old granddaughter only ever read Shakespeare. I wanted to ask what this little girl thought of the scene where Othello thinks his wife is cheating on him, so he starts talking to her as if he's her pimp.)Bookseller: Could you put that cigarette out, please?
(The guy I called out on this one didn't actually question me, and he had the good grace to look sheepish. But he also clearly thought nobody would notice he was smoking in a bloody bookstore
if he held his cigarette very discreetly. Apparently bookstore clerks have no sense of smell. But that's okay, because it's not as if we're surrounded by merchandise that's practically begging to catch on fire. Good thing paper doesn't absorb odors, and bookcovers are only improved
by the occasional sprinkle of ash!)
Things from this book I wish
I'd heard while working at a bookstore:"Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?"
"I've got a while before my bus. Are you and any of the other customers interested in playing cards?"
Parent speaking to a misbehaving child: "There should be no yelling unless someone is on fire!"
Child: "What if a weasel is robbing the store?"
You don't have to have worked at a bookstore to love this book. But you do need to love books. And you have to blush if you're one of the people who's ever walked into a bookstore looking for a particular book -- but you don't remember the title, or the author, or exactly what the book's about. But you think it might have a blue cover. (This has come up for every bookseller and librarian I've ever met.)
Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to the woman who got mad at me because she couldn't remember the title of the book she wanted or
the author's last name, but she did
know the author's first
name, and why couldn't we alphabetize our books that
way for a change?