WTH Happened in Cookbooks?!

After a long period of neglectfulness because of Busy Life Syndrome, I moved with purpose and dusting rag yesterday afternoon toward the section of our bookstore housing Horror, Cookbooks, Hippie Interest and Crafting.

Yeah, we put ’em in the same room. Doesn’t everybody?

Anyway, it had been a good long month since any staff had touched the area, other than the quick sweep-n-mop that keeps us from drowning in doggie dander. For some reason, our black Lab Zora loves to doze evenings in the hallway between Homeopathic Health and Cookbooks. Maybe to a dog’s sensitive nose those books smell pleasantly of herbs and bacon. I don’t know.

The scene that met me was worse than anticipated: VC Andrews sat chumming it up in the knitting section. (I wonder what Debbie Macomber would say to that?) Brian Lumley was Cooking with Oprah, the hippies hanging with Stephen King. And the diabetes diet books leaned with a drunken slant against Cakes for Christmas.

A little neglect goes a long way. Over the next two hours, I bookwrangled the wild volumes into a semblance of order. I’m pretty sure Day of the Triffids snarled at me as I separated it from Wilderness Survival, but the world doesn’t need any more horror novels about plants gone bad.

The whole time I was pulling John Saul off Julia Child, that Boston Globe article about wealthy retirees buying “failed” bookstores and reopening them lay on my mind. It was a great article from a bookslinger’s perspective: how the bookstore is not only not dead, but in full-blown revival, climbing the charts of “most wanted retirement careers” to number eight from fifteen in just two short years.

But I hope those dear, sweet people understand that it’s a lot of work, and in many ways a lot of the same work over and over again. You will spend less time discussing Russian Literature than you will separating it from Amish Christian Romances.

Jack and I wish you well, you new crop of bookstore owners, and we wish you the joy that comes from co-mingled dust and ideas. You’re going to see a lot of both.

7 thoughts on “WTH Happened in Cookbooks?!

  1. Hi Wendy,
    We met at the Virginia Festival of the Book in March. I too, have had Busy Life Syndrome, but recently I had cause to think about small bookstores, and I looked up that Christian Science Monitor article you mailed me, and then on to your blog. I’ve linked to your site on mine. Great to read about your continuing success!
    Pam Dawling

      • Hi Wendy and Jack, Yes, do visit. After December 7, not Dec 11/12, or another date I’ve lost track of. Monday nights and maybe Wednesday nights not so good. What works for you?
        Pam pamattwinoaks.org

  2. Wendy, your writing is HILARIOUS! And so refreshing. Gilbert and I are going to visit you one day soon!

  3. This is just a suggestion. Next time you are dusting a job I hate to do, and moving around the collection put the cookbooks in with a mystery novel because some of my meals are a mystery to my guest and make for strange conversation.

  4. What sort of books go into the ” hippy interest” category? I have a few to donate from my youth, if they qualify.

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