Monday, April 23, 2012

Books and a Story

Yesterday was magical.

I went to no fewer than 4 bookstores. I also deserve a cookie because I managed to not buy a single thing.

New Orleans has quite a few independent bookstores, which makes me happy for the state of books in the world, even if I'm still uneasy and uncertain about their fate. I went to a used bookstore that was very cramped, in a good, cozy way. They had a lot of books I've been looking for, and 6 or 7 titles published by LSU in a series called Voices of the South, which publishes otherwise out-of-print titles by Southern authors. I have a mental standing order to grab any titles in that series because they're hard to come by, being out-of-print themselves, but I resisted.

Anyway, while in the used bookstore another customer came in and the woman at the counter asked "Are you looking for the new store?" I had no idea what this could mean so I looked up their website on my phone and discovered that they have a store that sells new books right next door! So I went there, too. It was less cramped but still cozy and had that lovely new book smell.

After that, I decided why not hit up another bookstore and went to a third that sold new titles. I think it was my favorite of the three. It was a bright, open store and had resources about independent bookstores and Southern writers. The man behind the counter was the least friendly of the 3, though, and it seemed that it had the least regional feel. The other two seemed to have more specific collections, whereas this one had a selection that seemed to focus on what's popular and current, rather than what the owners or employees would recommend.

Behind-the-counter man actually did something very disappointing while we were there. A woman came in asking for a specific title which they did not happen to have in stock, when he said he could get it for her by Wednesday, she said no, she could borrow it from a friend, but she would like to pick up something else to read right now, and she asked if he had any suggestions. He asked what she wanted to read and her response was "Oh...probably something fiction." A terribly vague answer. But instead of asking her more leading questions, What do you usually read? Are you looking for something serious, funny, drama, easy read? What topics generally interest you? All he did was point out one book, one single book, and say "Every one who has read this has loved it."

He pointed out a book I actually just read, and only about half the people who read it loved it. I liked parts of it but was a little bored by other parts. It's not the hardest read by any means, but it isn't a super-quick one, either. If she loves it, then he did just fine, but if she doesn't love it, she might not run back into that bookstore next time she's looking for a book to read. Part of keeping the brick-and-mortar booksellers alive is providing really awesome customer service so that people realize how valuable it is to have that interaction with a bookseller.

Anywho. My intention was actually to tell the story of what happened at my last place of residence, but it's such a long, long story that I don't think I want to add it on to this post.

But I will come back and tell that story, I promise.

In the meantime, the quickest of updates on my life: I'm still searching for either a second part-time job or a full-time job to replace my current part-time job. I'm still looking for an apartment or a new roommate, too, but that's somehow much more difficult than it should be. I can't really afford to live by myself unless I get a semi-decent job (not $8/hour) and as anxious as I am to find a place to live, I need to make sure I'm going to be able to afford it reasonably in the foreseeable future. Finding a roommate has been difficult because no one wants cats. When did everyone start to hate cats so much? I'm looking every day and drive around neighborhoods looking for "For Rent" signs, hopefully it comes together soon.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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