While the Booker shortlist was being announced I've been watching an awful lot of television, music television to be precise. And watching video after video of Xtina A it's hard not to come to the conclusion that she is really quite petit.
I was reading some blogs and comments from somewhere today and it was suggested, from some well established independent bookshop somewhere, that it was our duty as booksellers to sacrifice all other forms of distraction to reading books and reading books only. That any time spent in front of the telly or reading a newspaper or staring into space is a betrayal of our customers and that if we weren't running 23 bookgroups a month we were somehow unworthy to run a bookshop.
Too much time with your head in a book is a bad thing. Head up, look around. Stare into space... now and again. Then when you return to proper reading... WHAM. Wow, how cool are books! In our modern distracted world I think it's so important to maintain a perspective on all our distractions. Taking a step back can help us as booksellers really focus on what's great about reading and let's be honest we're fighting for market share out there. Maybe the Booker shortlist provides a respite for a few brief weeks but it's not the whole answer. Enjoy it while it lasts and lets think about the other 48 weeks of the year to get people picking up a book instead of switching off and watching 22 year old pop midgets with a big, big voice.