Wednesday, October 3, 2007

On Being a Bookseller

I just finished reading Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch, a fun memoir about Ms. Damrosch's experiences as a waiter at Per Se, Thomas Keller's restaurant in New York City. It's a bit like the flip side to Debra Ginsberg's memoir Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress, which I highly recommend as another fun read.

Maybe I'm a fan of the food service memoir because I work in a customer service industry as well? Throughout Ms. Damrosch's book are little tips about fine dining, and there is one that I felt especially appropriate to the world of bookselling. She says on page 31 "Please do not ask us what else we do. This implies that (a) we shouldn't aspire to work in the restaurant business even if it makes us happy and financially stable, (b) that we have loads of time on our hands because our is such an easy job, and (c) that we are not succeeding in another field."

It's true that there are a lot of hyphens in bookselling. Here at Brookline Booksmith Paul is both an amazing bookseller and a wonderful artist (check out his stuff here). Mark is in a band that tours all over the U.S. and Europe (find out more about Neptune here). Brian and Carl are published poets. And me? I'm a bookseller. I wish I had other talents, but really, this is it. And it's enough for me.


Raquelle said...

Bookseller extraordinaire I might add! Bookselling is definitely a career. Its something I might want to go back to someday.

Have you read the book Shelf Life? I'm not sure if its still in print. If it is, I highly recommend it!

Patty Cryan said...

Oh, hear, HEAR! on all counts.

There's no "just" in bookselling.