Upon entering the book store I go through a sort of shedding experience. The moment I pull the door open my nostrils are filled with the glorious smell of coffee. Books and coffee, a most perfect marriage in my opinion. The stresses and concerns I had only a moment before are whisked away in the invisible aroma swirls that dance through the entire store. It only gets better. I am greeted with a “Hello” and a smile from my friend who also happens to be my co-worker. It never fails to occur to me that I work at a wonderful independent bookstore. Working at Anthology has answered a life long question of mine. Who reads this stuff?
Since I don't read Romance, Western or Sci-Fi novels I've often wondered about the people who do read these genres. There is an obvious demand as these sections hold large real estate in the store and the books that reside in these sections proudly sport creased spines. These are sure signs of loved books. In general, I don't read too much mass market paperbacks. Yet the Nora Roberts section is in constant rotation. Being a bookseller has put faces behind the question of “Who reads this stuff?” The people who purchase these genres are lively people who seem to have a common goal in their reading experiences. That common goal is to get away in a book. A 'mindless read' before setting off to the land of sleep. Maybe a working day only allows access to only 5 to 10 minutes of spare time. A work of quick fiction can accommodate such a time slot.
By nature I am an analytical thinker. I keep a journal of every book I read in case I come across a quote I like or a word I don't know. I take notes. Sometimes they are just blurbs and sometimes they are philosophical thoughts. Over the years reading a book just for fun has become a foreign concept to me. I feel that I must be learning something or it's not worth it to read. Working at the bookstore is changing this attitude. I find that most people rather enjoy talking about what they are reading and some are even thrilled. When talking to customers about what they are reading I, politely and in a non intrusive way, ask why they are reading what they are reading. The answer is pretty much the same each time, “to get away.” I also get recommendations and my “To Read” list is constantly growing.
My co-workers and the Anthology customers I meet inspire me to read that book that will allow me “to get away” without having to take notes in my Moleskine journal. Now, I just need to decide what that book might be.