One for the Books

Elizabeth Bluemle - August 5, 2016

The other day, a customer called the store asking for a particular staff member’s work schedule. She explained that she’s from out of town, and we had been so helpful last summer with recommendations for her daughter that she wanted to be sure to connect with that person again this year. “I’m ready to buy stacks of books,” she told Darrilyn, who had answered the phone, “so I want to make sure they’re in when we’re there.” Now, “stacks of books” is a delightful phrase, but it’s generally used as an exaggeration for a pile of 5-8 books, so we didn’t take the words literally. We looked forward to the customer’s visit. It’s flattering and a true honor when people tell us they look forward all year to their annual visit.
Today was the day, and sure enough, into the store walked the mom with her adorable child, who is now heading into third grade. The child is a strong reader, but only seven years old, so her mother has trouble finding books that are suited to both her reading level and age/interest resonance. She likes fantasy and magic, and mysteries, and biographies, and team sports books, and her mom wanted to keep the books on the happy side. She hadn’t read Edward Eager yet (happily, we still had some of the Quentin Blake covers on hand), and we talked up an eclectic variety of titles. I can’t remember everything she chose, but I do know that The Borrowers, Ella Enchanted,The Little Witch, Sixty-Eight RoomsComics Squad: Lunch!Nuts to You, D’Aulaire’s Greek MythsThe Trumpet of the Swan, Dan Gutman’s Jackie & Me and Honus & Me, Who Was Michael Jackson?, Who Is Jane Goodall?, Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, Zebrafish, and many, many more fabulous books found a home, from classics to new titles, graphic novels to nonfiction. Mother and daughter camped out in the middle grade section on two comfy furniture cubes with a big box to put their “yes” books in.
After an hour or two of browsing through all of the assembled books, they were ready to check out. Well, almost. The mom said, “And now maybe a book or two for me….” She loves character-driven books that aren’t too heavy in mood, so Frederik Backman’s A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry seemed like fine choices, along with Gerald Durrell’s sparkling My Family and Other Animals. They left with stacks of books, real stacks. Serious stacks of delicious reading that will last the family maybe past Christmas. “I think that’s the largest non-school sale I’ve ever seen,” said Laura, and she might be right. Our newest staffer, Dan, carried their giant box out to the car, while the mom and her daughter waved goodbye to us, happy with anticipation. We can’t wait to hear which books they loved most when they come back next year.
In addition to her amazing support of an indie bookstore, the customer made us feel so appreciated for our book enthusiasm and our joy in sharing the love of reading with young people. This day was one for the books—in every way.

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