Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ghostwriting No. 13: You Know You're A Bookseller When

Do you ever have one of those days on which you are cranky about the idea of moving Schleiermacher from Christian Contemporary Theology to Christian Classic Theology?

How about bad dreams in which people have shoved books in the wrong places on shelves, bending covers as well as getting things out of order?

A deep, nearly phobic revulsion at the thought of silverfish? ...Mildew?

Strong opinions on which editions of Dracula go in horror and which in literature? ...No patience for people who would shelve Gabriel Garcia Marquez under M? ...At least one more-than-one-shelf section in your personal library that definitely does not exist in any chain bookstore, e.g., Children's Judaica, Irish History 1900-1916, or Books on the Non-Book-Related Passions of Favorite Authors?

A publisher you like best because of its excellent selections and/or consistently classy cover art? ...More than one such publisher? Are there publishers you don't like because of their bad binding or ugly cover designs? Do you get mad when your favorite author gets a not-appropriate-for-genre cover, like the silly graphic novel covers on some recent copies of literary novels?

Have you ever ended up with more than one copy of a book because a later-purchased version had some special quality, like cooler cover art or better typesetting or illustrations or, best of all, having been purchased in the author's hometown or during some significant time of your life or - well yeah, being signed by the author counts too, but more so if it has a really weird personal inscription (I have one in which the author proposed that my blood should be bottled)?

I do. Also I cheer whenever I'm reading a book in which the bookseller turns out to be the hero, spy, culprit, or Essential Guide (you know, like the traveler on the road who gives the hero a magic item in Russian fairy tales). And I absolutely despise the movie "You've Got Mail," hate any film scene in which a book is damaged (like in "The Mummy" when all the bookcases fall down), and wish someone would make movies out of Peter Ackroyd's novels so that there would be more gorgeous antiquarian bookshops on film.

I stayed up until about four in the morning last night cataloging the books in one of the rooms of my house. Voluntarily. It probably shows. And now I'm going to go hang out with my Shakespeare-spouting friends from ACE Experiment, and next week I promise I will write a coherent entry about them and why they are the hottest thing happening on the IC evening entertainment scene.

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