Saturday I got to go back to one of my favorite places. All through college, I worked at an independent bookshop in a small town near my school, and if it had been even close to financially possible, I would’ve rather worked there full-time after graduating than anywhere else. But, as all cynics will tell you, the book industry is going through hard times (is that euphemistic?), and I thought after graduating, I’d never be able to work there again.
But two weeks ago, I went back to the shop-from-my-dreamworld to buy some books, and my boss was happy to see me. So happy, in fact, that she asked if I could come work some Saturdays before Christmas.
That was exactly what I wanted to happen.
Yesterday was my first day back. I walked in to the twinkling lights in the window, the books lining the shelves, my coworkers so sweet and kind. They asked me how I was, what life was like after graduation, what it was like teaching Latin to 100 students (okay, I rounded up – it’s only 99). I work with six women who share my love of books and it’s heavenly.
(Seriously, this place couldn’t get any quainter. The train from the city runs through, and the sound of it chugging up to the station on gray winter days makes me think I’m in Narnia or something.)
I sold The Art of Fielding to a man for his wife’s birthday (“She loves baseball. This is perfect!”). I sold two beautiful picture books for a 3-year-old girl about adventure. And I sold four books – to myself.
My latest discovery in my attempt to read as many different poetic styles as possible.
And finally. After thinking we already owned a copy and not being willing to pay for another, I ordered my own copy. Let’s see if I fall in love.
(I haven’t decided yet if I am keeping the fourth book or giving it as a gift, so that will have to remain a secret.)
And yes, I’ve met John Updike himself.
6 Replies to “Book Heaven”
Oh, I love this post! I also worked in a bookstore during college and was loathe to quit after graduating . . . but I knew that I needed more financial stability than a corporate chain would allow. Still, I treasure those days at the store — and with all my bookish coworkers. I hope you have a great holiday season back at your indie (and don’t abuse that employee discount too much, haha!).
There’s something about books that really connects people. We have something called “The Book Elf,” (or something cute like that), where people can come in and tell us what books they want. Then we slyly put a bug in their spouse’s ear. Indies are still good for something!
This place looks beautiful!
I love all the little shelves here and there. The snow out the window makes it all feel so perfect.
Also, here’s what I was able to find for ‘hard time’, only a side note that the first usage is 1705.
Seriously, when I first walked in my freshman year, I felt like I’d stepped into the 1940s. For break, I walk down the street to a little indie coffee shop and get a strong cup of coffee and marvel at God’s blessings. When I’m there, it’s like I’m living in one of my favorite books.
‘Hard time’ – can you refresh my memory? I bet we had a long conversation about this, and I have no idea…
Lucky you! I love books and just being around them. I volunteer at our library processing new books for circulation. Such fun to see all the new titles and books I might not have otherwise seen. Of course, I have to check out a few.
p.s. where are you that has snow?