Friday, March 27, 2009

I Should Not Be Allowed to Shelve Books Anymore

One of my favorite parts of working in a bookstore is, of course, seeing all the wonderful new books coming in. For the most part, I work at the store's lower-level register (in addition to my office duties) , where all of our fiction, poetry and children's titles are shelved. It's safe to say that nearly every day, I shelve at least a handful of books.

Unfortunately, for my bank account, my husband, and my overloaded bookshelves, many of these books-to-be-shelved end up in my books-to-buy pile and never officially make it into stock.

In fact, I'm banned from the fiction section during inventory because the task would never be completed. I'd sit there separating the books into neat piles of "inventory" and "my inventory." I am forced to count pens and to make sure there are no gardening titles missing. They know if they give me any section I'm interested in, inventory will be askew as I'll have hoarded half the titles in my office.

Today is a beautiful day in western Massachusetts and the only thing that could keep me from not throwing a fit about wanting to be outside is looking at all the pretty books.

Number One in today's pile of "Books to Be Bought," is All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen. Terrific title, gorgeous new paperback cover. I remember seeing this at McNally-Jackson in Soho (NYC) and my husband forcing me out the door without letting me buy it. Haha, dear husband, foiled again! You can't watch me 24/7.

Number Two in today's pile: Don't Cry: Stories by Mary Gaitskill. I'm currently reading Lauren Groff's new short story collection, Delicate, Edible Birds, which I think is fantastic, and feel a short-story "kick" coming on this weekend. All short stories - all the time. I still need to finish Nikolai Gogol's Collected Stories, too.

And, finally, Number Three: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. Okay, technically, I didn't shelve this book today, but it's been on display right across from the main register for about a week, taunting me. "Read me, read me," it calls. If there is one thing I'm not able to resist, it's a book crying out to be read. Okay, there are two things I can't resist. The other one is a cookie.

Emily Russo Murtagh

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