Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Customers 33

A young woman, maybe in her early 20's, blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a large sweatshirt and jeans came to the information desk.

"Can I help you find something?", I asked.

"Yes. I want anything on housewives. What they do," she said.

"Housewives?" I paused, not quite sure what it was about housewives she wanted. "So not a novel about housewives..."

She shook her head. "No." She was very serious. "What they do. What a housewife does in a day. I want to know everything about being a housewife."

"Okay. I don't think we have one book that will cover everything a housewife does in a day. We have books for different things that a housewife does like cooking, and there are some cleaning books..."

"I don't want cookbooks," she said.

During the time we were talking I was searching our database to find anything about housewives, knowing that there might have been more books like this several decades ago. Not as much now. I was pulling up lots of fiction. I pulled up a few novels with "housewife" in the title that were about "naughty" housewives. I did find one having to do with staying organized as a housewife.

"I found one that we should have here in the store about a housewife staying organized," I said.

"I'd like to see that one," she said.

At that time I got pulled away to deal with a minor emergency, so enlisted the help of another capable bookseller...

"She's looking for this book," I told her, pointing to the computer screen, "which we should have. She's looking for anything to do with being a housewife, but not fiction and not cookbooks."

I checked in later with my co-worker and asked her if the customer found what she wanted about being a housewife and she said that yes, she did. "After that, she wanted to find books about psychics."


Customers can order books from us. We call (or email) the customer when the book(s) come in. I was calling orders and in the stack was an order for two copies of the same large book. I didn't look at the title of the books, as they are usually covered with the order slip. I just called the customer and left voicemail letting her know the books had arrived. As I was putting the books back on the hold shelves, I saw looked at the title of those particular books. She'd ordered two copies of the POP-UP KAMA SUTRAicon


Later that day I answered the phone and the woman told me her name. It was the woman who had ordered the kama sutra books.

"I got a call that my order came in?" She sounded excited. I told her that her order had indeed arrived. "So my books are there?" Her voice got higher.

"They are. We'll hold them for two weeks for you," I said.

"Oh! That's great! I'll be in today to get them! I'm so glad they came in! Thank you so much for calling!"

"You're welcome," I said.

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Clicking on the underlined title may take you to the Barnes and Noble page for the book - the BN links have been temperamental, but it's worth a try. Clicking on the book cover takes you to the Amazon page for the book. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. You can send email to us: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More 50 Shades of Grey

At the bookstore we occasionally have clearance sales on books and gift items. They are often items that haven't sold that well. Occasionally we might find something wonderful in the selection, but most often clearance items aren't all that exciting. Clearance items are marked with a large red dot sticker.

One day last week a woman came up to the register. She had brown hair, pulled up in a ponytail and was wearing cargo shorts. She was pushing a stroller with a baby in it and two boys, maybe aged three and four, were with her. She was carrying a boxed set of the 50 SHADES OF GREY trilogy. In a kind of whiny voice, I heard the oldest of the boys say...

"But Mom, you said that if you got something, then we could get something too."

The Mom responded, "Yes, I know, but honey, remember? We like the books that have the red dots of them, and they don't have any of those right now, so you don't get anything today."

The boy said, "Yeah. I remember." His shoulders slumped.

I thought it was kind of sad.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

50 Shades of Grey

I haven't really talked about 50 SHADES OF GREYicon on the blog yet. Ever since it was featured on the Today show, people have come in droves to the bookstore asking for this book. It has certainly been in my awareness.

Lauded and blasted, it, along with the two subsequent books in the trilogy, 50 SHADES DARKERicon and 50 SHADES FREEDicon, feature a main character who gets involved with a very charismatic and attractive man. The relationship starts out as a dominating, S & M, and very sexual relationship, and evolves into one where Ana stands up for herself and has a Hallmark ending.


Evidently, that is. I haven't read it. (Okay, I read one racy part - and it was pretty racy as well as some poorly written dialogue.) One of our booksellers started it, but couldn't finish; she said she couldn't get through the poor writing. She couldn't even make it to the sex scenes. One of our managers at the store read the set ("Way to take one for the team," said another bookseller when she manager told us she'd read the entire trilogy).

What's been my favorite part of this whole 50 Shades frenzy is having people come to the bookstore asking for it. Not everyone knows what the books are about.

Here is a recent customer interaction...

A young woman, long blond hair in a braid, green zip sweatshirt and jeans, maybe in her 20's, and a woman, who might have been her mother, with wavy blond hair, an off-white sweater with a matching lacy blouse, pearls, and nice make-up came up to the register. They were buying a wedding magazine and a wedding planner.

"Did you find everything you were looking for?," I asked.

"Yes we did...oh wait!", the older woman said. There is one other book I wanted to see...50 SHADES OF GREYicon. Do you know about it?"

"Oh yes," I paused.

"And...you're out of it?" She looked disappointed.

"Oh no," I said. "We have hundreds of copies. Would you like me to get someone to get one for you?"

"Well, I'd like to know what it's about. Do you know anything about it?", she asked.

"I do. It's pretty sexually explicit." I paused. "It has some S&M in it."

"What?? It is??? It does???" She stammered. "The woman who told me about this, a friend of mi...well, she's really an acquaintance...she didn't tell me that."

The younger woman looked at her and said, "Do you know what S&M is?"

"Yes. I know what that is," she said, eyes wide, looking shocked.

"What did your friend tell you about the book?", I asked.

"She said that it was great and that every woman should read it and I should go get it right away and she wasn't going to tell me any more about it," she said.

"Well, lots of people are buying it, that's for sure," I said. "But it has got the S&M aspect to it and some people are calling it mommy porn. The main character gets into a relationship where she is dominated. I understand that by the end of the third book she does come out of it and is able to stand up for herself..."

"Porn? That's not what I thought the book was at all," she said.

"What did you think it was from what your friend said?", I asked.

"I thought it was some sort of helpful book, that it would give you ideas for how to improve yourself or something, tell you how to do things or something."

"It might tell you how to do certain things," I said. "Did you want to take a look at it?"

"Oh no!", she said, emphatically. "I can't believe she told me to get that book," she said. "I guess I don't know her very well. And obviously she doesn't know me very well."

Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book titles may take you to Barnes and Noble's page for each book. The BN links have been temperamental. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. And no one will know you bought these particular titles, even if you purchase them through the links here. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Notes on Some Books

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Anne and Sam Lamott (audio)
I really enjoyed this journal of Anne Lamott's first year of being a grandmother - and Sam's first year of being a father. You can read my blog post about this book here:

THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
We were lucky enough to snag an advance reader copy of this book. In it, the Earth's rotation is slowing. Told through the eyes of a young girl, she tells how The Slowing affects her life. It was an interesting read, and the author did a great job of keeping the premise going. It didn't end as hopefully as I thought it might from the title, though perhaps the ending was fitting to what one might suppose from such a dramatic Earth change.

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain
I hadn't been a Hemingway-ophile before reading this. I have to say that this book piqued my interest about Hemingway and his life. Written from the point of view of Hadley, Hemingway's first wife, the novel, based on actual events and people, is a wonderful depiction of his early writing years and this marriage. I really enjoyed this.

Recommended by a co-worker, I wanted to read this after hearing that it was Miller's reflections on his own life after being approached to make his life into a movie. Is his life movie-worthy? How do we make our own lives mean something? I appreciated his reflections and insight.

BRINGING UP BEBE by Pamela Druckerman
Druckerman wants to understand how French children seem to behave better, and she strives to find out why. What she learns isn't rocket science...it makes a lot of sense. As I read, I saw things that I did fairly well as a parent (helping my kids learn how to wait), and things I didn't do all that well (The Pause - waiting and allowing the baby to settle when they stirred as infants). I wish I'd had this book when I was a new parent.

THE PLAZA by Guillermo Paxton
After reading an actual news story about the 49 people who were beheaded in Mexico as part of a power demonstration between warring factions, I knew I wanted to read this book. THE PLAZA is a gritty portrayal of life in Juarez, Mexico as the city is terrorized by drug wars. Paxton has done an excellent job of portraying the horrors of living in such circumstances. You can read my full review here:

I AM THE CHEESE by Robert Cormier
I read a review of this book written by Ben Marcus, author of The Alphabet Flame. He talked about the main character in this being an unreliable narrator, which was a new and somewhat disturbing experience for him as a reader. It made me curious. The narrator is a boy, riding his bike 70 miles to take a package to his father. Alternating with a description by the narrator of the ride and interview sessions of the narrator by an unknown and fairly mysterious adult, this is well done.

FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver
Coming in November, Kingsolver's new book is a good one. Set in a small town in Appalachia, a young woman finds herself involved in some sort of natural phenomenon (and yes, that is vague. I don't want to give too much away. Sometimes knowing too much about a book is not a good thing). Kingsolver is such a good writer, I enjoy reading almost anything by her.

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn
Therapist's most excellent review (link below) made me want to read this book. I am almost done with the book and am thoroughly enjoying it. SO well done.


Thanks for stopping by the blog! Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's web page for each book. Purchasing through these links supports the blog. You can send email to us: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Looking for Readers (who may be Reviewers)!

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you'll know that I wrote a book several years ago. It's been used to train drug and alcohol counselors in Oregon, and right now I'm handselling it at the bookstore where I work (over 20 sold so far, about the same sell rate as SCENT OF THE MISSING!).

This is all great, AND I would like to kick it up a notch. One thing that helps books sell is having reviews of the book on sites such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

So this blog post is to ask if you would like to read the book and write a review (it can be short!) on Barnes and Noble or Amazon's page (or goodreads or librarything or...) for the book.

Let me tell you a little more about it. It's called 7 STEPS TO FINDING YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFEicon. It comes from a non-religion specific point of view, so no matter what religious background you come from, even if you come from NO religious background, this book can be helpful. The book introduces 7 areas of spiritual life, areas that are represented by religion but can be, and often are, expressed in your life outside of a religious setting. These areas include compassion, community, sacred space, vocation, worldview, harmony with nature, and ritual and tradition. The book can give you an opportunity to examine your spiritual life in a new way.


I can provide a (free!) copy of the book to anyone who wants to review it. I want it said that as the author, and provider of said free copies of the book, I do not want you, as a reader/reviewer to feel obligated to write a positive review. I want you to honestly write about your experience of the book.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of 7 STEPS TO FINDING YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFEicon, and would like to write a review, send an email to me: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Help for Dementia

An older woman came up to the register, short white hair slightly curled, wearing a bright turquoise blue jacket with a mandarin collar. “Do you have THE 36 HOUR DAYicon”? she asked.

“We do,” I said, “It’s right over here.” I lead her to the section and showed her the book. “We have two different versions, one in trade paperback, one in mass market, the only difference is size and price.”


“I think I’ll take the smaller one,” she said. “I have to hide this when I go home, so smaller might be better.”

I paused for a moment. She seemed kind of reserved and I didn’t want to intrude, but knowing this book as intimately as I did, I wanted to offer help if I could. “This book gives a really good overview of what’s going on with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It looks at what happens to the body and how things will progress. I practically memorized it when my mom was alive.”

“Oh, good,” she said. “It was recommended by a friend of mine.” She paused. “It’s my husband,” she said.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said. “I don’t know how far along he is, and this is a really good book to give you a sense of the disease and how it progresses," I said, pointing to THE 36 HOUR DAYicon. Another one you might consider, and one I wish I’d had when my mom was alive is this one, CONTENTED DEMENTIAicon.” I picked up the book and handed it to her.


THE 36 HOUR DAYicon is great in that it gives you an idea what’s happening physically and ideas for medications and other ways to help. CONTENTED DEMENTIAicon is from Britain, and it really talks about how to interact with the person. People with dementia often can’t remember where they are or what they are doing, and so often what we do is try to orient them to the here and now, trying to get them to focus on what’s going on right here. And that often doesn’t work. The patient doesn’t remember what’s going on now, they are often living back somewhere else in their memory. This book says to go back there with them, just go with them and talk about what they want to talk about. My dad was a doctor and he would always remember himself as being in a hospital. It was a good place for him.”

She hadn’t stopped staring at me. She said, quietly, “My husband is a doctor." She paused. "Was a doctor. He’s retired. He gets like that, he can’t remember what we’re doing right now.”

“Right,” I said, softly. “It’s hard. I actually did this pretty well with my mom, but she still got pretty distressed and I wished I’d had this book so I could have done it better.”

“The friend who recommended this one,” she said, holding up THE 36 HOUR DAYicon, “her husband is going through this too. My husband is too.” She smiled a little smile. “It’s going to be hard. I want to know what to expect, though.”

“Well, THE 36 HOUR DAYicon is great. And I really like CONTENTED DEMENTIAicon. You might consider getting that one later.”

“If you are recommending it, then I’ll get it now,” she said.

“I think they will be helpful,” I said. “Good luck with everything,”

“Thank you so much for all your help,” she said.

Thanks for stopping by! Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book titles may take you to Barnes and Noble's page for each book. The B&N links have been iffy, I apologize. Purchasing through these links helps support the blog. You can send email to us: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some Assembly Required

I just finished listening to Anne Lamott's new book SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIREDicon. The audio version is read by Anne Lamott and her son, with whom she also wrote the book. It was great to hear Sam's participation in the book; Sam, whom we met in OPERATING INSTRUCTIONSicon as an infant.


I devoured OPERATING INSTRUCTIONSicon years ago, even though my children were both past babyhood when I read it.

Being a mom with a baby (and then having another baby and a toddler) was hard for me. My tendency was to dissolve into the role of mother and caretaker. When my children were infants, they needed my body (and it felt like my soul) so completely. It was hard for me to extricate my Self from the role of mother and keep track of who I was.

But then they got older. And more independent. (yay!) I taught school. My kids went to school. (yay!) And now they are in their 20's, and my son is engaged to his wonderful fiance.

Anne Lamott didn't sugarcoat the realities of having an infant, which I greatly appreciated. Though she has struggles with how best to be present in Sam and Amy and Jax's lives, as she did with how to be a good mom to Sam, what comes through loud and clear is her love for Sam and Amy and Jax.

Anne Lamott starts SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIREDicon being surprised and concerned to find out that her 19 year old son, Sam, is going to be a father with his girlfriend, Amy. At the same time she is excited to welcome this new being into her world.

...having a child ends any feelings of complacency one might ever have and I knew what Sam was in for. It was like having a terminal illness, but in a good way.

I love how she puts things.

One of the things she struggles with is finding the balance between wanting to tell Sam and Amy what to do in any given situation, at the same time realizing that she can't control a situation, that Sam and Amy have to figure it out for themselves...

Amy and Sam seemed to be in a good place when I got back, but demented with jet lag, I had to grip myself by the wrist not to pitch one good idea after another at them. I didn't say, 'Let's find some great day care for Jax so Amy can work part-time', but I writhed with the effort to stay silent. I almost offered to babysit twice a week to this end, but didn't. Since Jax's birth, my ideas about what would be best for everyone usually got in the way. Life is already an obstacle course, and when you're adding your own impediments (thinking they're helping), you really crazy it up. You make it harder to even just cross the room. You should not bring more items and hurdles to the obstacle course.


Having children is messy and hard. And wonderful.

Lamott talks about how grandparenthood allows her to not be so caught up in the 24/7 intensity of the survival and well-being of a child that one has to be as a parent. She says that being a grandmother allows her to see her grandson, Jax, and his growth in softer focus. I think I will like this grandmother gig when it comes.

Thanks for reading the blog! Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon's web page for each book. Clicking on the underlined book titles will take you to Barnes and Noble's web page for each book. Please note that the Barnes and Noble links may not work with the most recent versions of browsers, nor will it work well with Google Chrome. I apologize for any trouble with the links. Purchasing through these links (if you are able to do so!) helps support the blog. Happy reading, however you obtain your books!