Friday 6 August 2010

A Small Welcome!

I think it's fair to assume that I love my books. I would even call myself a devourer of books if I didn't have friends who could and do read ten in a week. As a result of all this reading I usually have all these thoughts running around my head that I want to share with others. I do have a book group and 98% of my friends are readers but this isn't always enough. Mainly because I have these thoughts usually late at night and they are only vaguely still there the next morning. I've had blogs before and the one thing I miss is the sharing of random thoughts in my head. Whether the rest of the world misses them or not remains to be seen.

This is what this blog is for. Random thoughts about books. Or not so random as they are usually set off by something. If you are looking for an in depth critique of books I am afraid you aren't going to find that here. I left all that behind me at school years ago. I know some authors put meaning behind every sentence that they write. I don't believe that all of them do though. I think it was Stephen King (I can hear your eyes rolling you know) who said that sometimes a story is just a story. I am a firm believer of that. I wonder how many of the old classic authors who would be surprised at the amount of meaning English teachers can glean from just one paragraph of their books. How many would be sitting scratching their heads and muttering "I just wanted some conversation filler there"?

I am also an avid reader of blogs although I am a fickle one. I have my favourites but others I can go by months without reading and then suddenly go back to it and catch up on old posts. The ones I don't go back to are the ones where every book they had read is just amazing and their favourite. In some cases I do know that these bloggers have the authors and publishers following them so it might be hard to say exactly how you feel knowing you might offend someone. Or maybe they do genuinely feel that way. It's a bit off putting though and it's not me. If there is something I don't like about a book I will say it but I will also rave about the books that I love even if it's trashy nonsense to others.

Now that I have got all that out of the way I can tell you about my new toy. I got an Ipad for my birthday (long story behind as to why as my birthday gifts usually aren't that extravagant). I also have been reading through iBooks since I got it. I swore I wouldn't but there you go (I also swore I would never buy music digitally but I can't remember when I last bought a CD). Last night I downloaded and read a book called "Bookstore Lore" by a blog with the same name. The book is based on stupid questions asked by customers in a book shop in San Francisco. The author mentions that the owner of the shop encourages creativity and so the staff keep these notebooks everywhere. The manager then emails some of the best to the author.

The book is only 30 pages long and I read it within 20 minutes. The first thing I did was text my friends and say "I bet we could do better." The truth is the book store I worked in wasn't an independent and we had one of these notebooks. I bet that most book stores or stores that attract the creative have them. Out of context some the questions just weren't at all funny. Others also didn't actually seem like stupid questions. What's wrong with a customer asking advice on a book? Those are the customers we actually liked!

As a result I have decided to compile some of my own. These weren't just my own experiences but also from colleagues who share them in the break room.

"Do these stairs go up?" I was told this would be a common question when in my first week. Didn't really believe it until I experienced it.

"Where are all your books?" bookseller looks around at all the very full bookshelves rather confused.

"Can you tell me how to get to _____ restaurant?"
"I'm sorry sir I don't know."
"I thought this was supposed to be information?"
"Not tourist information I'm afraid but we do have city guides that might help."
Customer walks off in a huff.

"You look like a character in a book I just read."

"Where Can I find the devil's autobiography?"

"So why don't you stock out of print books?"

"What book do I need to answer this essay question?"
"I'm sorry but I'm here to sell you books not do your homework."

Man calls to complain that an article about the worrying rise of anti-Semitism is missing from his magazine article.
"Are you aware that Anti-Semitism is a problem within your store?"
"Sir, if that was the case all five copies of the magazine would have been tampered with. Since a large number of students come into the store I think it's more likely that it was one of them. I can put an undamaged copy of the magazine aside for you."

Customer looks at uniform, looks at tag and then looks at large pile of books in hand. "Do you work here?"

Customer walks past the information desk, past two other booksellers and goes to the one balancing precariously on the top of a stool with a large pile of books. "Can you help me?"

"Where's your pick 'n' mix?"

Customer 1 "I don't read"
Customer 2 "No me neither."

"I'm looking for a book."
" Do you know the author or the title?"
"I think it's red." booksellers across the world will recognise that one.

Customer asks for help find a book for her grandson. After getting some idea of tastes bookseller then tries to get an idea of his reading level.
"He's no that bright hen!" happens more often that you would think.

This last one (and I promise it's the last) is one of my favourites. Not a funny customer or a stupid one just one that brought a smile to my face at the end of long shift.

"I'm looking for Enid Blyton books for my grand daughter."
I proceeded to take her over to the section and talk her through the different series.
The customer notices there is no one else there then leans over and whispers.
"They are actually for me. Used to read them when I was wee and loved them. Just wanted to read them again."

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