Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bookstores and me

Kate's touching post about why she works in a bookstore made me reflect on the reasons I'm here. I had to think about it because I've been working in bookstores since I was 19 years old (I just celebrated my 30th birthday in September -- thank you for your belated wishes). Here are the reasons why:

1. It's all I know! Wait, that's not at all true. I've had several publishing jobs since college, none of which were as fun as working in a bookstore. I've worked for a literary agency, a sales group and a literary magazine. None of these jobs forced me to confront contemporary literature on a daily basis. This one does! Thankfully!

2. People who work in bookstores are awesome. This is universally true. Even if you worked at the worst bookstore, there would be at least one awesome person for you to talk about books with. Don't even get me started on the Booksmith -- everyone here is wonderful. They know everything!

3. Books are nice. They're really nice. I'm really, really into them and it's really, really nice to work with them every single day. Often, customers will express their fantasy of working in a bookstore. Let me tell you, customers, though we might not get to read all day, we're still living the dream.

4. The soundtrack is reassuringly predictable. Two things universally dominate the soundtrack to any independent bookstore: Putumayo and Belle and Sebastian. No matter what my thoughts are on these particular musical forms at any given time, it's nice to hear them year in and year out.

5. (Specific to the Brookline Booksmith) The customers. I've worked in a number of communities, and this is far and away the most literate, wonderful group of people I've had the pleasure of working with. You all are super! Brookline aside, it's always great to talk about books with people for a living.

6. Specific to my current job at the Brookline Booksmith: I get to meet authors I love. Lorrie Moore and Lee Child might never remember my name or face, but I will treasure our time together until my dying day.

7. Advanced reading copies. 'Nuff said.

Is this enough motivation to get people off their Kindles? I hope so. I am so copying Jeff Bezos on this post.

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