Thursday, March 01, 2007

World Book Day, Acting, Fatigue, Nose Tricks etc

I love my job. I love books. Today is World Book Day - Hurrah - I Love the World!

One of the hardest things about being a bookseller is maintaining your enthusiasm for a book day after day, week after week, year after year. When I first read a book I love I am often a total embarrassment to be around. I want everyone else to share the amazing experience I feel I have just had and I am convinced they are going to love the book just as much as I did. Of course this is not always the case as people have their own ideas about books as they do about most things. But in that initial flush of joy I will sell that book to anyone and everyone I can.

Catherine O'Flynn's What Was Lost was the last book to make me go gaga. I put a sign in the window asking "Is this the first Must Read novel of the year? Why not come in and ask why we are so excited about this book..." People came in and asked about it. For a while this is no problem. I natter away, they buy the book - all cool. But after a while my enthusiasm begins to wane. This has absolutely no relation to the quality of the book - I still love What Was Lost, but after explaining why for the umpteenth time I am starting to regret that sign. (Sometimes in the morning I'm wandering about the shop and I'll come across a book. Jim Crace's Being Dead is a recent example. I remember what a brilliant book it is and wonder why I haven't pointed it out to anyone for a while. Next time someone asks for a recommendation I will probably mention it. The point I'm trying to make is I still think that's a great book but I don't bang on about it in the way I did when it first appeared.) Ok, so we have more books coming in all the time and I'll soon be excited by something else, but (there is a sort of point coming) - this is one of the reasons I really admire actors.

How do they do it? Night after night the same performance, each time just as much emotion, just as much conviction.

I also admire the way they can remember their lines. I am forever misquoting books, song lyrics etc. Yesterday I even changed the words to a nursery rhyme! Usually my version has a sort of bizarre, poetic, lateral thinking slant on the original - but that wouldn't work for a stage actor.

"To be or not to be? Er. What was the question?"

I also admire the way actors drink. Hollow legs or what?

And how do they get up in front of all those people without wanting to run away and hide?

Actors, I salute you.

In other news, the young son Finn - twice crowned ruler of the Kingdom of Small - has a new trick. It involves the nose. He blows through it hard and fast repeatedly. Any snot or food he has recently consumed are then blasted out in my general direction.

If you come in the shop and I have food down my jumper please don't think I'm senile or "one of those" booksellers. Nope, it's just food/snot that has sprayed over me...


  1. I hate my written tone of voice. This isnt meant to - and hopefully won't - sound snide. Just because you get bored of a book doesn't mean that the person/customer/friend you're recommending it to will. it will be new to them.


  2. Hi Saber - it's not the books I get bored of, it's the sound of me trying to sell them!

    That's why I admire these acting types who can do it night after night with the same passion. (Oooh La La!)

  3. Matthew, I hate to do this to you, but you are one of "those" booksellers. One of "these" booksellers, a fragrant bookseller like I used to be, who bought soap for the loo out of her own pay, might think of keeping a clean jumper at work to change into, that wasn't covered in food and snot...

    Still doubting me? Then answer me this. Are you earing matching socks today...?

  4. hello,

    you're right.

    saber x

  5. Hi Marie - on checking my feet I find that I am wearing socks that match!

    (I mean they are both grey, though admittedly not what the likes of you would call a pair.)

    And one has a large hole that my big toe is poking through...

    (Adam just said he hates wearing socks with holes in. So do I. But all the others are in the dirty washing basket. Oh dear, I am one of "those" aren't I)