Tuesday 5 January 2010

It's like kicking a puppy in the face, and by "puppy" I mean "book"

I'm afraid this isn't a review, my friends. I am approaching the conclusion of Dostoevsky's The Adolescent, finally, but it may be a couple more days before I write about it. I feel like my reading lately resembles running through a gigantic vat of wet cement. My feet are very heavy, reading-wise. In part, the problem is that I don't LOVE this book. I know! Dostoevsky is supposed to be a god; he's generally been my personal god ever since I became so emotionally stressed by Crime and Punishment that I became ill; but I'm not really feeling it, more of which anon. I feel like a bad reader. What a lame moral judgment to visit on oneself, and what a lame(r) thing to admit. But there it is.

I barely read over the holidays. I slept like a 14-year old going through a major growth spurt. I cooked, and baked, and ate A LOT. I spent times with friends, during those short intervals when I was awake and coherent. I read, a little. I like to imagine that if I had been gushing over the Dostoevsky, I would have read a great deal more, but I'm really not sure as I haven't mastered the art of reading while being unconscious. In fact, this morning, before I began work at 11, was the first significant chunk of time I've found for hunkering down with my large and mysteriously water-stained tome. I sat in my favourite coffee shop and drank delicious, evil coffee and read and sometimes looked out at the snow and lo, was very happy indeed.

However, all is not roses and pink puppy dogs in bookland. For one thing, January is a terrible month in the book-selling world. Even with a sale on, I'm getting fewer than 10 people in the store each day and they're not all buying. I'm not panicking, as it was just like this last January. Yet, it is a little gruesome and hubby and I won't be going out for dinner again any time soon.

Also, and this bothers me more than my slow sales in the shop; in fact, it makes me want to punch someone in the neck: Apparently, if I want to fly on an aeroplane into the U.S. of A., I won't be able to take a book with me because of all the new security measures following that Christmas bomb + airplane + security fail in Amsterdam debacle.

I'm really hoping that this is just a blip that will be clarified and worked out. I don't know if I'll be willing to fly somewhere if I can't bring my owned damned book. I'm happy to forgo bringing food, drink, electronic devices, MY EPI PEN, pretty much anything; I'm almost reconciled to pervs taking x-rays of me under my clothes to see if I'm wearing plastic explosives. But no book? I don't know.

If I knew I could get a super awesome book that exactly suited my current reading desires on the other side of security, I might suck it up - but the bookstores in airports are soulless, dead places, places where one cannot be sure of finding even one passable read. I know this. I spent a lot of time in an airport bookstore on my way up north trying to find ANYTHING. I did find something - a book someone'd clearly left behind - but as I couldn't prove that definitively, store m.f.'s made me pay for it, even though it wasn't in their database. So I fear that not only will I not be going to NYC this spring as planned, but that I may never go to the U.S. again. Dammit, The Strand, The Strand!!

Also, a low point in bookstoreland: today, I sold a book called Judaism for Dummies. No wonder people worry about the state of publishing and the death of the book. Don't ask me why I had this book in stock in the first place; I may have to kill you if you do.


Celine said...

no books on planes? Are you for riz? Sure people will be murdering each other from sheer boredom and frustration.

Hope the book biz picks up for you soon. ( don't see why you're so down on the Judasim for Dummies. The for DUmmies series are are far better then wiki if you're looking for some quick research material.)

Unknown said...

I know that no customers is bad on the earning-money-and-eating front, but at least you have lots of free time at work to read...

...and who wants to go to the States anyway? ;)

yorkke said...

I hadn't heard about the no book thing. That would drive me mad.

And I guess we can expect January to be a slow book buying month. I read somewhere that the only reason bookshops can stay afloat is because of December sales.

Heidenkind said...

No books on airplanes? W. T. F?!?!?!?! That is not right.

Stefanie said...

Books are ok to have on planes though I have heard that people with hardcover books have been stopped and their books searched. Some flights aren't allowing passengers to have anything on their laps for the final hour including a book, but I think those were all flights coming from overseas.

Bookphilia said...

Celine: Well thank you, lady, for your good wishes - the shop was crazy busy today. Can you wish next for me to win the lottery?

Tony: Ah, no - I'm doing inventory while I have the time and space! The Adolescent feels like it'll never end.

yorkke: I've heard that December thing too but for this shop, it's the summer months that make or break it!

heidenkind: Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Stefanie: Maybe the news rules are different depending on where you are; gawd knows they can be confusing. But the news here keeps blaring: NO BOOKS WHATSOEVER ON AEROPLANES. So hubby and I are going on a road trip to Quebec instead of NYC.