At Least They’re INSIDE A Bookstore?

, , , , | Right | October 26, 2020

I am browsing in a bookstore when a family of four clustered around a table of graphic novels suddenly cries out in excitement.

Mother: “Look! They adapted the movie To Kill a Mockingbird into a comic book!”

Employee: “Actually, the graphic novel is adapted from the book.”

Son: “Why would anyone base a comic on a book?”

Employee: “It’s not so uncommon anymore. Look, there’s an adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale right over there.”

Son: “No, that’s a TV show.”

I leave the poor employee and walk into the next room to browse the fiction section. The daughter, who is about eighteen years old, breaks off and approaches me.

Daughter: “I can’t make sense of these shelves. Are they alphabetical by title?”

Me: “Um, no. Alphabetical by author.”

Daughter: “Really? It doesn’t make sense to do it that way.”

Me: “It’s by author. Were you looking for something? I don’t work here, but maybe I can help.”

Daughter: “Oh, no, I’ll find it.”

The daughter stands and stares at the fiction shelves with her brow furrowed. I find the book I am looking for and go back to the other room to pay, where I find that the rest of the family is still debating whether or not the “To Kill a Mockingbird” graphic novel is based on the movie or the book.

Mother: “See, this has to be based on the movie because it has the aunt in it.”

Employee: “…?”

Mother: “The aunt isn’t in the book; they invented that character for the movie.”

Employee: “Scout’s aunt? She’s in the book. But it doesn’t really matter; the story is going to be essentially the same regardless.”

Mother: “No, the aunt is not in the book. You should read it sometime.”

The aunt is definitely in the book, but I don’t want to get involved. The employee politely excuses herself to ring me up. As we are finishing the transaction, the daughter comes up and points at me.

Daughter: “You were wrong. Those shelves aren’t alphabetical by author. I don’t even know what they are, but they’re not that.”

Me: “Sorry? I believe they are.”

Employee: “The fiction section? It is alphabetical by author. Can I help—”

Daughter: “No. It’s not.”

She walked away, leaving the employee confused. The family left at the same time as me.

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All Reading Is Good Reading

, , , , | Related | October 24, 2020

As a nine-year-old child, I am as voracious a reader as my twin brother isn’t. I am reading adult sci-fi; he is years below his age bracket. It’s not because he isn’t clever, but because he is unmotivated and stubborn. Oh, so stubborn.

My parents consult with paediatricians, special tutors, and his teachers. They sit to read with him every night. They try every technique and every recommended book that is meant to attract young boys. They try books on any topic he has interest in. They try punishment and reward and everything in between. Nothing works. He just refuses to read. He’d rather watch TV or play computer games, and he isn’t willing to negotiate terms. A one-hour-for-one-hour compromise is not on the table. He’d rather choose spite.

Finally, after more than a full year of watching this play out — and, admittedly, having reached my limit of petty jealousy from seeing my brother get “extra attention” from both our parents — I take matters into my own hands.

I interrupt my parents and brother “reading.”

Me: “Come with me.”

I drag my brother by the hand to the computer, dial into the Internet, and go to the one fanfiction site I know of at the time. I search around for a high-rating story of my brother’s lifetime favourite game and OTP pairing and begin to read the story out loud.

After the first chapter, I walk away.

Me: “It’s all yours!”

My brother replaced me on the seat, clicked the next chapter… and quietly began to read. He stayed on that site for the rest of the night while I tried to badger my dad into reading “Snow Crash” out loud to me.

He is now an adult and an absolutely phenomenal speed-reader… who still basically only reads fanfiction.

Dad never did read me “Snow Crash.”

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The Curious Incident Of The Book With The Wrong Title

, , , , , | Right | September 30, 2020

Many schools use the same books for summer reading. Every summer, bookstores stock up on these titles and place them prominently throughout the store. We booksellers tend to become very familiar with the various titles and covers. 

Me: “Hi. Can I help you find anything today?”

Customer: “Yes, my son is looking for The Upsided Down Dog.”

Me: “I’m not familiar with that book; let me look it up.”

I look in our system and nothing comes up for “The Upsided Down Dog.”

Me: “I’m not finding it. Did he say who it’s by?”

Customer: “I don’t know! It’s summer reading for his school.”

A lightbulb goes off. I go to a nearby table and pick up a book, showing her the cover. 

Me: “Ma’am, could it be The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time?”

Customer: *Sighs* “Yes, I suppose that must be it.”

This particular book is orange, with a small picture on the front of an upside-down dog.

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Angels Have Never Said So Much Before

, , , , , , | Right | September 3, 2020

A seventy-something-year-old woman with claw-like hands, over-processed hair, and too much cosmetic surgery finds out at a cocktail party that I am a literary agent. Uh-oh.

She comes up and puts a claw on my arm. “I understand you’re an agent. I wrote a romance novel. It’s 700,000 words long. It might need some editing, but would you like to see it and maybe represent it?”

I tell her my specialty is business books, and that yes, she really does need to cut it down because the average romance novel is about 55,000 words. Trying to be polite, I tell her it is quite a feat to have written so much.

She says, “Oh, no. It was channeled to me by angels. I wrote it in just sixteen days! Why don’t you take a look, and perhaps you’ll change your mind about working with me? It’s very good.”

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Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 23

, , , , , , | Right | August 21, 2020

I’m in a bookstore looking at some fantasy books when I see a woman in her early twenties walk up to a table full of “Harry Potter” books and merchandise. She strikes up a friendly conversation with a little boy around seven to nine years old.

Boy: “But, why’s he so mean?”

Woman: “When his mom got together with his dad and he was conceived, his dad was under the effects of a love potion. Magic made it so he could never actually feel love.”

Boy: “How come that makes him mean?”

Woman: “When people don’t feel love, and people can’t make them feel loved and important, they do all sorts of things to feel like they’re important — even if that means they’re only important because they’re scary.”

The boy nods for a moment in understanding and then voices a new question.

Boy: “What’s ‘conceive’ mean?”

The woman’s eyes grow wide, and for a moment she struggles to figure out the right wording before just giving up.

Woman: “That’s a question more for your mom, kiddo.”

She ran all the way to the escalator!

Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 22
Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 21
Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 20
Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 19
Cause For Pregnant Pause, Part 18

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