Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Or Have I? I kind of think I have.
There are things I haven't read that people assume I have read and I don't contradict them. Maybe if I was not a book person or a book seller the perception of my reading chops would be different. When you work in bookstores customers expect that you have read 3/4 of the store's inventory, if not all of it and they know like they know that babies are cute, Stepehn King will have a new 700+ page novel out every year and that each Jennifer Aniston movie will be worse than the last that you have read everything ever published for the 14 and under set.
I have no problem with the adult books that I have not read that people/customers think that I have. I say whatever. Retail is retail. If John Q. Public brings assumptions concerning my literary authority into the store the better for me. If he then holds up Crap Novel and askes if I think he will like it, like a cop looking down the barrel of a perp's gun I have to make a split second decision. I have to contemplate the author's reputation, the price, any recent reviews and/or customer feedback, Mr Public's customer loyalty and purchase history----Did he buy 2 books last week, 3? Well did he, Punk?----- all weighed against my desire to sell, sell, sell. Guess what wins? But then ask me how many people have ever been unhappy with me for really just quiting any am-I-wasting-my-money fears because that is all they want.
I feel differently about books for children through young adults. When it comes to books for that crowd I need my never quite at the surface integrity. I want to recommend books that will help keep youngsters reading and loving books. Not only because I want them to one day spend their hard earned at my bookstore but because I want them to have the joy, knowledge and companionship of books throughout their lives.
So. I am going to stop pretending that I have read Goodnight Moon and The Giving Tree.
Okay. I'm not going to do that but I will continue to feel bad about myself for doing it. Is that enough?
P.S. In case you were wondering if my opinions about the books on this blog are my real opinions? They are. If I had to comment on every book that comes into my hands they wouldn't be but here I get to pick and choose.