Monday, April 16, 2012

Guidebook? Or a Novel?

A woman stopped me in the aisle at the bookstore. Her eyes were heavily lined with eyeliner, she had red lipstick on, and her frosted hair was long and tied up on top of her head.

"I need a book about sailing. About sailing in the San Juan islands. Do you have anything like that?"

We have books about sailing. And we have books about the San Juans. We might have something that is about sailing in the San Juans," I said. "Let's look over here." I walked with her over to the travel section.

"I need a gift for some friends. They are getting a sailboat and are going to the San Juans, so I'm thinking a guidebook of the area would be good. And if it can be on sailing too, that would be great."

I started looking in the Pacific Northwest/Outdoors section. She saw where I was looking and said, "But the San Juans aren't in the Northwest." She paused. "Are they?"

"Well, actually they are," I said. "I have cousins who live there. The San Juan islands are in Washington in Puget Sound, out of Seattle."

"Oh. Oh, okay. Well, I know my friends have done lots of research about this already. They might have read these guidebooks already. They are the type to do lots of research. But a book is good, right? I mean, it's the thought that counts, right?"

"Well, sure," I said. "You can see what we have and see if anything might work." I handed her one book... "Here's a book that is about sailing in the San Juans, AFOOT AND AFLOAT IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDSicon"


"Oh, this is great!" she said. I showed her the other books about the San Juans that weren't necessarily about sailing too. "I think I'll take this one," she said, holding onto the one I first handed her. "But I know they've done so much research already. They probably already read this. But they can return it, right?"

"Sure," I said. "If you get a gift receipt with it, they can return it." I paused. "There's another book I'm thinking of that might work as a gift for them," I said. "It's a novel, but it's set in Puget Sound, so it would kind of fit the theme. Let me see if we have it." I left her to go get the book. I brought it back to her. "It's THE HIGHEST TIDEicon, and it's set in the same area where your friends will be going. I loved it. The writing is really wonderful. A novel might just be a different direction to go than a guidebook. Or maybe you could get both of them for your friends," I said.

"Oh, wow," she said, looking at the cover. "This might be really great."


"I really loved the book. It might be fun to give them a novel. Just another option to consider," I said.

She looked at both of the books. "I think I will get both of them. Thank you so much, you've been so helpful!"

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