Confessions of a Bookseller
Ok, confession time…
Yes, this is partly because I don’t have a book to review. I mean, I’ve read some books. I’ve read some awesome books. But they’re not out for months and months and months and you’d probably get mad at me for reviewing them now. It’s kind of a ‘nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I got to read it’ sort of a thing… right? Or do you want reviews of books that aren’t out yet. Because I can totally gloat about all the advance copies I get… if you really want me to. Otherwise, I’ll wait until closer to the release date to review the things I’ve read recently.
So, today, we’re going to have some confessions. There are some things that people assume about people who work with books. Especially people who, like me, work at an independent bookstore. Lots of those things are true. Many others were disproved hilariously in the fantastic Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. We love this book at the store! And there’s a tumblr! You’re welcome for that.
But! I’m not here to talk about awesome booksellers who have written awesome books. I’m here to talk about me! And the things that make me feel a little bit guilty as a bookseller.
1. I hate Anna Karenina.
That’s right. I said it. I hate that book. And that character. This is especially troubling since I also majored in Russian Literature in college. Really ridiculous amounts of money were paid over for me to become conversant with the literature of that really really large nation. And I liked most of it. But Anna… she’s just such a wet blanket. I’m sorry. I’m sure it’s tragic and all that, but honestly, the only person I really feel for in that book is Anna’s son, Sergei. I don’t even particularly like Kitty and Levin, who are supposed to be the happy foil for Anna and Vronsky. But, I just don’t like Levin and Kitty never really registered on me. So…
Although, if it means anything, I really like War and Peace. Even after I had to xerox two copies of it for an independent study in college. That took more than a little while, in case you were wondering.
2. I have an e-reader.
Sort of. I have an iPad that has several book apps on it including iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and Adobe’s Bluefire Reader. This isn’t really a revelation if you’ve followed my reviews since I’ve reviewed things that are ebook only. I started with the best of intentions. Yes, yes, I know. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. And frozen door-to-door salesmen according to Good Omens. The first several books I got were yet more copies of some of my favorite books like A Fistful of Sky. Then I found out that some authors were putting out exclusive digital content so I started getting that. (By the way, if you haven’t read How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea by Mira Grant and you’re at all interested in zombies I highly recommend that you do! Two words – zombie kangaroos!)
I mostly use the Bluefire Reader for digital advance copies for work. It’s cheaper for the publishers to send us digital files rather than physical ARC’s. We can also get digital ARC’s for books that won’t have physical copies printed. So, I get more books, but they don’t take up extra space. This is really important for me, because I have a book/bookshelf problem. I have sixteen bookshelves in my house of various sizes and they’re all full. Then there are the stacks of books on my dining room table, desk, bedside table, and kitchen counters. So it’s probably smarter of me to splurge on ARC files rather than piles (f you’ll forgive the wordplay).
3. I never finished reading Harry Potter.
I know! Ok, I know. But the thing is, (because, of course there’s a thing) I was going through some stuff when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out. I read Sorcerer’s Stone when I was in college. I don’t remember exactly what year it was, but I think it was 1999 because I don’t remember having to wait very long for Chamber of Secrets to come out. I went to my first midnight release party for Goblet of Fire dressed as Professor McGonagall. So, it’s not that I wasn’t into the books. But 2003 was a kind of dark time for me. I was in grad school and was having issues with my health, depression, and anxiety. So… yeah, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was not the sort of thing I needed to be reading. I had too much of my own angst, I couldn’t really deal with Harry’s too. And I just never went back. By the time I really thought about picking the books back up I knew pretty much all the plot points. People talked to me about the books since they knew that I liked them, so I was never really out of the Potter world. I might have gone back at some point, but when I get a magical fiction urge I’m much more likely to head for Diana Wynne Jones or Eva Ibbotson than I am to pick up JK Rowling. Maybe it’s because Harry is a boy and I like stories about girls. Although, Enchanted Glass and Conrad’s Fate are both about boys and I love them. Maybe it’s because when I read the early Harry Potter books, I think about the influences on them like Tolkien or Roald Dahl so I just go read their books again. I’m not sure, but I just haven’t felt the urge to pick up the Harry Potter books again. Maybe I just don’t like magical realms entered through a train platform though, because I haven’t re-read The Secret of Platform 13 either…
I did host a midnight release party for the final Potter book! (I’m trying to redeem myself. Please don’t hate me!) I made house scarves and a felt Sorting Hat. And I stayed up really late and made cupcakes, so I’m a good bookseller. Right?
I think three confessions at a time is probably enough. Are there any book related confessions you want to get off your chest? I won’t judge you. I promise.