'Tis the season. I work in a bookstore, and we are getting busier by the day. I'm racing around like a madwoman (s'truth: I had sweat trickling down my back today) answering phones, pulling books, placing them on hold, helping people in the store (by the bye... bunnymcfoo? come help. I'm just sayin') Anyway, I always keep an eye out in the teen fiction section. I know a lot of the books there - not as much as I ought, but I do my level best. So. I walked by and saw a woman staring at the shelves, frowning. Turns out she was shopping for her 13 year old niece. Said niece loved the 'Traveling Pants' books. Didn't like 'The Outsiders.' This was pretty much all I had to go on. So, I chatted a bit with the Aunt, sold her 'Teen Idol.' Done.
Now, I had another lady waiting for me. Her daughter, also 13, ADORES Harry Potter. Holding up Taylor's 'Shadowmancer,' she said, "Is this good?"
What was I supposed to say? I opted for the truth, though I gentled it a bit. "I rarely discourage one from buying a book... but I found this unreadable." I told her why I didn't like it (feeling guilty... sorry, G.P. Taylor!), and said I'd be happy to recommend other books for her. "Please!" she said.
"Okay," I took a deep breath. "I'm probably going to give you more suggestions than you want." So, I started chatting up a few books.
I started with Coopers' 'Dark is Rising' sequence, moved on to Shannon Hale's 'The Goose Girl'... and at this point, my first customer had come back over. "Do you mind if I listen in?"
Customer #2 and I both assured her that was fine (she ended up buying 'The Goose Girl' -which is brilliant and wonderful and so gorgeously written, it makes me weepy that I may never be that good). Customer #2 was ultimately, as I had feared, overwhelmed. "I think I need to bring my daughter back and have her talk to you." I told her the hours I worked, and that was no good; I'm gone before school is out. "You need to work after-school hours!" she admonished.
And that made me think. I should so be a consultant. Make me a book consultant for the 11-16 or so set. Give me one shift a week to just read. I'd read anything and everything were that the case. I'll set up special appointments... and hey, screw the company payroll. Slip me a twenty, and I'll give you half an hour of book talk and rec's.
Never going to happen. It would be fun, though.