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.