Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Therapist Takes A Nook

I, Therapist, take you, Nook, to be my E-Reader of choice. To have and to hold, (ok, carry), from this day forward, whenever there are times that the book I'm reading may be heavy or awkward to juggle with my other worldly items. I promise to keep you dry from bath water and your battery charged til death (of your battery or screen life) do us part.
Yes, I have "taken" a Nookicon. I, who never thought such a day would come.
It's not that I don't have friends with E-Readers; I do. And I have tried not to judge them for their purchase, their mad and reckless departure from all that is holy. the end, it turns out that scripture is right on this topic, "judge not lest you be judged", because here I sit, not alone, but with a Nook. I blame Stephen King for my unfaithfulness.
I have written about Stephen before when his new novel UNDER THE DOMEicon came out in 2010. I believe I called it a "tomb" and may have mentioned Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A devout King fan since his infamous THE STANDicon, I was excited to hear that he had written a new novel called 11/22/63icon.


Anyone that has been on the planet for a half of century knows exactly what that date is and I was interested to see how Stephen King would write about the assassination of JFK. Bibliophile bought the book for me right away and when I came home from work, there it sat covering up a large portion of my night stand. This is when the first thoughts of adultery came to me. I thought about how I read in the bathtub every night. I thought about reading Justin Cronin's THE PASSAGEicon and the aforementioned UNDER THE was in that moment that I knew I would become a cheater. It became quite clear to me that my faithfulness could not bear up under the temptation the Nook presented of giving me ALL of 11/22/63icon in just 7.5 portable ounces. Three days later the Nook and I bathed together with all 897 pages of 11/22/63icon...I fell in love.
I wrote the first part of this when I first "took the nook", (that ended up catchier than I intended), and can now look back on my first three months as an adulterer. It turns out that the nook did not steal all my affections as my reading has been evenly divided between those books I can actually (have and) hold and those that are digitized. I have not deserted my habit of browsing through bookstores and caressing a cover or page. I still fill my "to be read" bookshelf with books of the original variety.
So, what I have found is that my divided affections have actually caused me to read MORE, and that is the real beauty of my new reading partner. Although unexpected, I am quite satisfied with this new, open relationship. I hope my real books understand.

Clicking on underlined titles (or Nook!) will take you to Barnes and Noble's site for each item. Books - both digital and "real" books are available for purchase. Clicking on book covers will take you to Amazon's page for each book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 26, 2012



I received a copy of Tina Fey's new book in the mail from a fellow Bookcrosser (check out

First of all let me say, I am a Tina Fey fan. She's smart, she's funny, and she is able to skewer Sarah Palin. What's not to like?

I had high hopes for BOSSYPANTSicon. Of course I wanted to find out more about Tina, but mostly I wanted to read whatever she wrote from her clever and funny point of view.

She talks about her childhood, her stint as a writer then performer on SNL and then her development and unexpected (to her) success of 30 Rock. She also talks about having a baby, and maybe having another one (this written before her pregnancy with her second child).

She also intersperses these chapters with things she's learned...(beauty tips! rules of improv!).

I loved the rules of improv.

When improvising a scene with someone, the first rule of improv is Yes. Agree with whatever someone brings to the scene. For instance (she says), if someone enters the scene with their fingers like a gun and says "I'm going to shoot you now!", it's a scene killer if you say, "No, that's just your fingers shaped like a gun." Not good in improv. You have to have somewhere to go with the scene and that involves cooperating and agreeing to go with what your partner brings.

The next rule of improv is Yes, AND. So not only is it important to agree with what your partner says or does, it's important to add something of your own. If your partner with the finger gun says "I'm going to shoot you now!" and you say, "yeah." It makes the partner do all the work and you end up being a warm body on stage not participating much.

She goes one to talk about a few more rules for improv as well as how they can also be rules for living.

These rules for improv didn't take up much space in the book, but they really stuck with me.

In addition to all of the above, there were also parts of scripts from 30 Rock and SNL...It kind of seemed as though this book didn't know what it wanted to autobiography? Funny insights from a funny lady? A little bit of everything? I wanted to like it more than I did. That said, I'm glad I read it.

Clicking on the book cover takes you to Amazon's page for this title. Clicking on the underlined book title takes you to Barnes and Noble. Purchasing books through these links supports the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Puts the Remembering..."

It was strongly suggested to me that I not purchase the leather-bound volume of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIAicon, even though it was a great price AND I no longer have the complete set of the individual books I'd received when I was ten years old. I liked the idea of having the complete set again, as I do reread them occasionally and the leather-bound volume includes the same illustrations as the ones in the books I had, so it felt familiar.

The reasoning behind the suggestion was that we don't need to bring any more things into the house that are just going to sit there, collecting dust and mocking us from the bookshelves. (This suggestion isn't limited to just books, mind you, it's just that books are a frequent purchasing option in our house.)

Since Bookcrossing (check out My bookcrossing member "name" is 2of3Rs) , we've both become pretty good about passing books along when we are finished with them.

There are books (and other things), however, that I'm not ready to part with. In Lisa Tracy's OBJECTS OF OUR AFFECTIONicon, she talks about going through he parent's things as they've scaled down and hearing and remembering stories connected to some of the items her parents owned.

    Objects of Our Affection: Uncovering My Family's Past, One Chair, Pistol, and Pickle Fork at a Time

In the beginning of the book, she describes how her great-nephew is attached to a particular toy...

    "It is a plastic toy milk bottle that moos when you turn it upside down. His toy, from six or seven years ago. He's nine as I write. On this particular morning, I'm moved to suggest that we might get rid of it. Pass it on to someone else, someone younger, perhaps? Yes, he says unthinkingly, then immediately reneges.
    "The milk bottle, he tells me, reminds him of when he and his dad were living in the country. One night, his dad was making popcorn in a skillet, and when he took it off the stove and opened the lid, the fluffed kernels exploded all over the place. 'And when the popcorn blew up, I was looking at the milk bottle, and it put the remembering right in my head,' he explains. The memory still makes him laugh uproariously."

I love that, "puts the remembering right in my head". And things can do that.

As I look over the bookshelves, I see that there are some more books that I am done with, some books about business that I won't be reading again and perhaps are outdated anyway, a few novels that I (or we) read that we are done with.

I also see some books that I'm not ready to part with. For me they evoke the enjoyment of the actual reading of them, like the hardcover copy of BLACK BEAUTY that has a smudge of mud on it that it got when I dropped it walking home from babysitting when I was 12. I don't want another copy of BLACK BEAUTY, I want THAT one.

There's TIME AND AGAINicon by Jack Finney, which I read in high school at my friend Sally's recommendation. She was the one who lectured me as we walked to and from school on the merits of being a Democrat. I hadn't given it much thought before then (not being old enough to vote, I suppose), but Sally MADE me think about it. I'm still a Democrat.

And what about THE MISTS OF AVALONicon? I read this at a friend's urging. It validated questions I had about the patriarchy and hierarchy of the church, with which I'd been struggling.

Bill Bryson's A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHINGicon came with me to the hospital when my mother had her stroke. My brother and I took turns reading it, whoever was at the hospital got to have the book. We both loved it. He is a science-y person, me not so much. Nope, not getting rid of that one.

I didn't end up buying the new leatherbound copy of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIAicon, and I'm okay with that.

Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's page for the book. Clicking on an underlined book title will take you to Barnes and Noble's page for each title. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good Combination?

A man came to the counter with several magazines. All (but one) of the magazines were marijuana related, including HIGH TIMES and WEED WORLD.

The other magazine was about weapons.

I wondered if this was a good combination of magazines for one person to be buying.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Customers 32

A woman came up to the counter, late 20's, dark wavy hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing jeans and a pale peachy colored sweater. She put a Justin Bieber book down on the counter.

"I'd like to return this, please," she said.

"Do you have a receipt?"

"No, I don't have a receipt. It was only about five dollars, though," she said.

"We have to have a way to track the transaction," I said. "To do a return or an exchange we have to either have a receipt or I can search the computer for the transaction if you paid with a credit card or are a member with us."

We tried several credit cards to search for the transaction and it did not come up.

She said, "So if you pay with cash, you're just out of luck?"

"Well, if you pay with cash and keep the receipt, then you're in luck," I said.

She paused for a minute. "Wow," she said. "I'm trying to return this for my daughter." She turned the book over and pointed to writing on the back that said, "Printed in China". "We don't buy products made in China. That's the only reason I wanted to return this. I was going to get a store credit and just get a Justin Bieber magazine for her. She wanted it returned. She's making her social statement here. She's five."

(She's five?) "I can check with a manager, I'm not authorized to do the return without any way to track the transaction." I take the book in the back and ask the manager. She looks up the book, which was just on clearance and is no longer in print. All of our clearance items are gone. "Tell her I can give her a dollar of store credit. With it being clearance and all the clearance gone now, that's all I can do."

With the book in my hand, I tell the mother that I can give her a dollar in store credit. I explain that it was a clearance item and that our clearance items are gone.

Her face falls. "Okay, I'll do that." She pauses. "No, never mind. I can just donate it." She pauses again. "Are there any magazines of just Justin Bieber?"

I take her over to the magazine section. "There used to be a few that were just about him. I haven't seen those for a while. Tiger Beat and Pop Quiz have him on the cover, with all the other teeny-bopper heartthrobs, but there isn't one just of Justin Bieber."

"Oh. Okay. Well, thank you."

I leave her at the magazine rack.


An older woman, late 60's, early 70's, short dark hair, bright red lipstick, comes up to the counter.

"I have two books on hold." She gives her last name. I go get the books, two children's books about dinosaurs by Bernard Most.


As I bring the books back, I notice that there is a line forming behind her. There is one other cashier who is involved in a complicated transaction. I hand the books to the woman.

"Oh, these are just the best," she says, opening one. "I used these when I was teaching, years ago. They are hard to find now." She flips through the pages and reads it to herself. "These are great for teaching. They are fun, and they give information." She keeps looking at the books. Then she looks over her shoulder. "I don't want my husband to see that I'm getting these. I'm not teaching any more, but they would be great for my grandchildren. Should I get just one? Or both? They are so hard to find now!" She pauses. The line gets longer. "I just love this!" She turns the book around so that I can see the pictures. "Isn't this just great?" She reads a page aloud. To me. I smile.

"Would you like to get them both?" I ask.

"Yes. I think I will. I mean why not? I really like them."

I ring up the books and tell her the total.

"What was that again? How much was it?"

I tell her the total again.

"Oh, that's not so bad. I'm so glad to have these! You should really get these for yourself too!"

"Thanks so much," I said. "Have a good day."

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Close Encounters of the Authorish Kind

A customer placed an order with us. When books on order come in, we print a paper with the customer's last name in large block letters that we place on the spine of the ordered book. Books on hold are arranged by customers' last names.

Customer's book came in, and a hold slip was printed. Her last name is an unusual one, one shared by a famous author. (Famous Author wrote a book that might have a title that rhymes with Might Flub, and Famous Author might live in Portland. Famous Author might have written other books about potentially disturbing subjects.)

Seeing the book on hold with Customer's (and Famous Author's) last name, several booksellers wondered if Customer was any relation to Famous Author.

I placed the call to Customer.

"Hello, this is Barnes and Noble, you ordered a book with us, and it's here for you."

"Oh, right. What was the name of the book I ordered?", she asked.

"Um, let me see," I said, unwrapping the book. "It's called the HALLELUJAH DIETicon," I told her. "We'll have it here for two weeks; you can come and get it any time."


"Oh, that's right." She paused. "Oh, dear, we're leaving the state tomorrow afternoon for a trip and tonight we have Bible husband might be able to pick it up after he stops off at the church tomorrow...but I don't know if he can. Darn, I really want it, too!"

"We can hold it a few days longer for you if you'd like," I said.

"Oh, that would be great! Thank you so much! God bless you!"

After the call I didn't think that Customer and Famous Author were related. (But you never know.)


I had my coat on and had gathered my things to go at the end of my shift today. C. was gathering up all the copies of DEFENDING JACOBicon from the back room and putting them on a V-cart.

"Why are you getting all of those?" I asked.

"The author is here and he's signing them," C. said.

"The author of DEFENDING JACOBicon is here?", I asked.

"Yeah, he's at Info."

I walked out of the backroom and headed toward our Info desk. A dark haired man in a black, grey and white jacket was bending over copies of DEFENDING JACOBicon. Another man in a grey jacket was standing to the side of the Info Desk, talking to a bookseller.


I walked up to the Info desk and the dark haired man looked up. "Hi," I said, diving in. "I work here. Did you write DEFENDING JACOBicon?"

He smiled. "Yes, I did."

"Well, I just wanted to tell you that I read it and I loved it."

His smile got bigger. "Thank you very much."

"You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by the store. It's good to meet you," I said.

"Sure!", he said. "Thanks for reading it!"

I left the store, tickled to have met William Landay.

DEFENDING JACOBicon is a courtroom drama, a family drama with psychological aspects. It's narrated by Andy, a prosecutor who starts out investigating the murder of a 14 year old boy. Well done.

This is one of those great books where it's good not to know too much about it before reading it. So don't read reviews! It's too easy for there to be spoilers. And just so you know? You're going to want to talk about it when you're done. Let us know what you thought of it!

Clicking on the underlined book title will take you to the Barnes and Noble page for each book. Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's page for each book. Purchasing through the blog links help support the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How do you spell "Alzheimer's"?

"How do you spell Alzheimer's?", one of the booksellers asked me as she was typing a query into our Info Desk computer.

"A-L-Z-H-E-I-M-E-R-S", I said. "With an apostrophe," I said, knowing how finicky our in store search is. "Are they looking for a specific book?"

"No, we just want to see if you have anything about Alzheimer's," said the woman. She and the man with her looked to be in their early 60's, graying hair, wearing jeans.

"We have a section," I said. "Let me take you over there."

I show them THE 36 HOUR DAYicon. "This is a really comprehensive book about dementia that talks about how it progresses, how it is for people caring for the patient as well as the patient itself. I found it really helpful when my mom had dementia."


"We just had to move my mom into a facility. She couldn't live on her own any more." They looked like they were still in shock.

"That's hard. Does she know who you are?"

"Yes, she knows us," the woman said. "But she forgets what she's doing. And there was once she didn't seem to know who my husband was."

I nodded. "Another book I wish I had when my mother was alive is this one." I show her CONTENTED DEMENTIAicon. "The author talks about kind of a new way to help people with dementia. What people usually do is try and make the people who have dementia understand what is going on in the here and now. The problem is, the people with dementia don't remember what's going on right here and right now. They remember the past. So they get agitated because they know they should be remembering what's going on here and now. In this book, the author recommends letting them be, in their mind, wherever it is they imagine they are. My dad was a doctor and when he had dementia it seemed as though he was remembering being in the hospital, which was a really good place for him.


"Oh, wow," she said, looking overwhelmed. "We'll take a look at these."

"I recommend both of them really highly. THE 36 HOUR DAY
icon gives a really good sense of what is happening and what will happen. CONTENTED DEMENTIAicon doesn't really deal with the physiological aspects of dementia, but provides some really great help on how to be with people with dementia."

"Thank you so much for your help," she said.

"You're welcome. Take care."

Clicking on the book cover takes you to the page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book title takes you to the Barnes and Noble page for each book. Thanks for checking out the blog!