Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Distinct Lack of Sugar and Spice

Since I started work on this blog I intended to intersperse the raging, angry, vitriolic posts with happier posts about book things I actually enjoy. This has turned out to be a Herculean task, because apparently I haven’t vented enough of my spleen to get to my happy cream filled center. (I'm still a “bastard coated bastard with bastard filling”. Bonus points for correctly identifying the source of that quote.)

Toward that goal I have been working on a post about one of my favorite lighthearted authors, Douglas Adams. Anyone familiar with his work who looked closely at this web address would know I'm a bit of a fan. Unfortunately, as much as I love his work, every time I sat down to write about it it ended up sounding like a book report. And not an awesome book report like the one I wrote about To Kill A Mockingbird, but a lame one, like the one I wrote on The Phantom Tollbooth. (Which I never actually finished reading. I hope that confession doesn't cause me to retroactively fail fourth grade English class.)

Anyway – in lieu of that I decided to kill two birds with one stone and share my many opinions about individual books and a link to an awesome book website in one post. The website is GoodReads. It's a great way to see what your friends are reading and connect with other book nerds. I've set up a BookWench profile and rated a lot of books. You can find me on the site by searching either my user name Bookwench or my email address I constantly update my shelves and include mini-reviews of things. Plus, they have fun trivia, author interviews, author profiles, and interesting book discussions. I always look at my friends' lists before I go to the library to get inspiration for my book hunting.

All that being said, I hope I can get to a nice, calm place and give my favorite authors a fitting tribute on my humble blog. Until then I'll leave you with one of my all-time favorite, often referenced passages from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy (which includes 6 books):
"One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you alright? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behavior. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favor of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical."

And remember to support your local brick and mortar bookstores whenever you can. I worked at Borders for many, many years and made truly excellent friends there, a lot of whom have lost their jobs as the company spiraled towards bankruptcy.  
Plus – I need a job until my application for queen of the world is accepted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Step Away From the Monkey

I firmly believe that the purchasing department of any retail store is an excellent place to score the best mind-altering drugs on the market. This is the only rationale I have been able to come up with to explain/ justify the mind-boggling number and sheer strangeness of the various non-book items I have been forced to deal with as a bookseller. One of my co-workers loves to save the craziest stuff for me to see what level disdainful look/ whimpering noise I will make when I see this stuff. (Or how I can spin it to make it dirty. I have some theories about the more adult direction the company I currently work for is heading.) My disdain and whimpering hit dangerous levels when the weird stuff comes with the ability to make noise. Noises that I am forced to hear over and over and over again during my already interminable days in BookWorld.

Over the years I have seen stuffed birds that chirped, a 40-Year-Old Virgin doll that shouted lines from the movies, and a stuffed rooster that both crowed and walked around.  Currently I share a store with incredibly loud screaming stuffed slingshot monkeys. Try as I might I cannot fathom how these monkeys are supposed to tie in to the whole “bookstore” thing we're trying to accomplish. In fact they make it really hard to remember the alphabet, or who wrote Cry The Beloved Country, because the blinding rage takes over all my functioning brain cells, and I think the pitch and decibel of these toys does something to my central nervous system. It also makes it make it really hard to maintain control over my all-consuming desire to slap someone.

This is one of those situations in which I would love to enact some retail worker justice. I feel some sort of punishment should be meted out to those who break the following rules:

BookWench's Retail Rules for Noisy Crap
  1. If you are over 10 and insist on making it make noise just to see how annoyed the staff becomes. If you notice how annoyed the staff are becoming and continue to do it and have the audacity to laugh your punishment becomes more severe.
  2. If you/ your child make it make noise more than three times.
  3. If you/ your child press more than one of the offending items at once, creating a symphony of auditory horror better suited to Dante's inferno.
The Punishments - you have two choices:
a) buy the offending noisy thing at a 300% markup to pay for the psychological care (aka booze) for affected staff members
b) be locked in a small space with a multitude of the noisy things going off non-stop for 2 minutes. Possibly while also being forced to listen to some great easy listening hits of the 70's.  Or Celine Dion. 

So parents – watch/ manage your children. (The punishment falls to you for anyone under 10 violating the rules.) Retail shoppers – use your power of dirty looks to shame people. And if any of you ever meet anyone who works in the purchasing department for a bookstore kick them in the goods for me. (Then steal their happy pills and mail them to me.) 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Will, We Will Mock You

Recently at work the book Love Lessons From the Hills (yes, the MTV “reality” show) came across the counter and caught my eye. Then it activated my gag reflex. After all that it inspired the following rant:

If you are paying money to glean relationship advice from vapid, mostly plastic, single- I.Q. Idiots whose personalities were created by MTV I should get to slap you across the face with a copy of Hamlet on sheer principle.

Forget posting pictures of shoplifters at the registers, I would like to post pictures of people buying books like this because they are the true danger to society. (The Idiocracy* is frakking nigh people) It should serve as a warning for any potential significant others. Ex: Warning: this person has based their idea of healthy relationships on The Hills. Please date elsewhere for the continued intelligence of our species.

And, just so everyone is aware, retail clerks will point you out to their co-workers, and laugh, a lot. There are certain items in any retail establishment that if someone is devoid enough of taste/ intelligence to actually purchase it, the entire staff will gather to mock you. When I worked at a home d├ęcor store it was the 5 piece poinsettia comforter set. At the Super Fancy Cooking store it was the very large, white ceramic rooster. That's right, a huge $300 ceramic cock. Endless hours of amusement for the staff, but not something anyone should actually own.

And I'm sorry if the stupid blonde one, or the even dumber blonde one, or the scary plastic surgery girl from The Hills are your personal life coaches. But chances are, if that were the case, you would not be reading this blog because the big words would've scared you away.

Other books that should get you banned/ suspended from the dating pool:
  • Anything by Tori Spelling, Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, or anyone from a MTV reality show.
  • I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
    My personal list of deal-breaker books/ authors is extensive, feel free to add your own in the comments.