Sunday, June 22, 2014

What's your problem?

Okay, I haven't posted in six months, so I think it's reasonable to ask, "What's your problem?"  Readers of my last post will recall that I started a new job in January.  I'm a full-time independent bookseller.  Well, more than full-time.  I'm regularly working six and occasionally even seven days a week.  Naturally, there was a period of adjustment.  I haven't worked retail in decades.  I haven't stood for 8-9 hours a day for decades.  And, of course, there was a learning curve, as this is my first bookstore experience. 

Happily, I was well-trained by my generous employers and co-workers.  And, let's face it--I bring a little industry knowledge to the job.  So, the transition was fast-tracked and not too stressful.  Still, I don't have the free time I once had.  The store is open long hours, so I work days, nights, weekends, whatever.  Thank goodness I love my work!  (Was there really any doubt?)  I get to hang out and talk about books all day!

Readers are also aware that I read, shall we say, more than the average citizen.  I figured last year's 225 books would never be equaled.  I was right.  We're a smidge less than half-way through the year, and I passed the 150 book mark this week.  And in case you're wondering, no, I don't ever read at the store.  Television, however, is a thing of the past.  One of the things I discovered was how much reading time I lost writing all those darn book reviews.  They never came easily.  It wasn't uncommon to work two or three hours on one.  Not to mention the blog posting.  Time-consuming!  Apparently, I can read a good chunk of another book in the time it took to sweat out a detailed book review and post it.  And reading all the books in the store is so helpful with work. 

Obviously, I'll never read them all, but I make a fairly impressive dent in the high-profile releases weekly.  I am NOT a speed reader, but I do read a bit faster than average.  More to the point, I'm good at multi-tasking, i.e. reading while: commuting, grocery shopping, getting a pedicure, laundry, cooking dinner, etc.  Also, I've got stamina.  If you have, say, 16 hours on your day off, you can finish three not-excessively-long novels.  Trust me, you can.

Of course, I haven't given up reviewing entirely.  Now instead of creating free content for the increasingly Evil Empire (Amazon), I write brief shelf-talkers for the bookstore.  Brevity does not come naturally!  Each review is a about a paragraph long.  It occurs to me that there's no reason why I shouldn't share these shorter reviews here in batches, along with the occasional longer piece, video I still shoot, and other random cool bookish stuff.  It's really sad...  I spend almost every waking moment in a bookstore.  When I have time off, what do I do?  Visit other bookstores.

Oh, and sometimes I travel to bookish events.  Back in May, I attended the Nebula Awards Weekend, and I'm off to Thrillerfest in New York for the ninth year running.  Oy.  So, I guess what I'm saying is, stay tuned.  I took a break, but I'm going to try to do better.

Is anyone still out there?  Please feel free to say "hi" in the comments. 




  1. ::raises hand tentatively::
    I'm still here. I understand completely (says the woman who just blogged for the first time in nearly two years and not for nearly as good reasons). I think the batches of brief shelf-talkers and other bookish things interspersed with the occasional in-depth review sounds like a great way to keep us all informed and happy!

    Looking forward to seeing you when you hit town before heading up to NYC.

  2. Nice to see you pop up in my feed again, and it's great to hear that the new job is rewarding, if all-consuming.

    I also find it takes me a long time to write reviews, and I can understand if you no longer find it the best use of your time. But I'd love to see your shelf talkers and so on if you decide to share them here!