Cue the Music.

It is Monday at 8:58.  I am a bookseller.  The store opens in two minutes. I am not at the store. I am sitting by my fire, in my robe (sorry, no picture – too scary). Two intrepid booksellers are at the store, turning on the lights, booting up the computers and already answering the telephone. Stashing their lunches in our little refrigerator and mentally calculating if coffee is more needed now or in the late afternoon, they may add a review to goodreads.com, or face a new book out after hearing an NPR review this weekend.

Cue the music. Nice browsing music. Seven days a week for over 10 years this dance has not stopped. It has officially become a Dance Marathon. Most days it is a rhythmic waltz and some days it is a frenzied Boot Scootin’ Boogie, but the Dance goes on.

They don’t just dance. They read! Reading is vital to the heart and mind of each bookseller. The bonus is that they also genuinely like people and are equally as interested in what customers are reading. They are honest, hardworking, undercompensated, and loyal. My customers trust them to guide them to their next book. One of the most wonderful wisps of melody that floats back to my attention in the office is hearing a bookseller tell a customer at the counter about the last book they stayed up late to finish. Often that will include favorite passages and animated hand gestures Some might call that handselling a book. I call that enthusiastic sharing with another human being about the things that enrich their lives. Music to my ears!

The most meaningful bookselling involves, perhaps requires, interaction and sharing of ideas, recommendations and favorites. That is what makes us tick at Inklings, and I dare say, at all other bookstores – especially independents.

So I, too, am a reading bookseller. Torn between staying here in my cozy chair and waltzing deliciously into Jonathan Evison’s book, West of Here, or getting to the Ball before the stroke of Twelve. Torn, I tell you. But my feet are itching to dance.

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Published in: on March 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Glimpses of Glory

Thanks to so many of you who asked about our safety during the destructive earthquake in New Zealand. As you can read in my previous post, we didn’t feel it. When I last wrote we thought the fatalities and damage would be minimal because of the relatively small magnitude of 6.3, but it turned out to be devastating with over 160 people from all over the world losing their lives and an entire city’s infrastructure reduced to rubble.

Of course now, as painful and real as the Christchurch earthquake was, those reports have been eclipsed by the unimaginable numbers of dead and missing in the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week. CNN coverage was incredible as Jim and I actually watched live helicopter shots of vehicles, buildings, roads and people being swept away with little warning. Latest reports say that over 7000 lost their lives and 10,000 are still missing while radiation leaks from several nuclear facilities. Unquestionably, the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV.

In a blink we went from idyllic surroundings of warm weather and beaches, rest and no worries, to 24 hour coverage of terror. Many times during our vacation we heard Kiwis talk about their paradise, their Eden, their little piece of heaven, and I would agree it is the closest thing to that I’ve ever seen The reality, however, is that this is not heaven yet. it is a world of pain, and the glimpses we have of Glory are just that, glimpses.

So we can sit around the tellie, clucking our tongues and shaking our heads until the next happy thought flies by our window, or we can become glimpses of Glory to all those who hurt right now. A generous check for relief efforts, a caring card to an hurting friend, and for me, my presence at a memorial for a dear young man, my cousin, taken too soon, or so it seems to me.

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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