Several times this week someone has approached me as I sat at the bookstore laptop, frowning as I pondered just the right words to use. It’s a delicate business, Facebook posting….
“I don’t want to bother you, but…” the gentle inquiry began. The first time it was, “….but I really like Nicholas Sparks–”
I leaped to my feet. “Right over here.” But the lady did not follow, just stood there with hands clasped.
“Um, I meant, I’ve read everything by him. I just wondered, would you know of anybody who maybe writes a little like him, that I might enjoy reading?”
Madam, my day has been made. I led her to LaVyrle Spencer (among others – don’t judge me). We pondered and debated plot lines and writing nuances, and she left smiling.
I sat back down, smiling. Later that day another customer said, “I don’t mean to bother you …”
He had read all the Nevada Barrs we had. I showed him James Doss, Margaret Coel, Dana Stabenow and J.A. Jance. We talked plots and points and cultural sensitivity and he left with a bagful of paperbacks, smiling. I sat down, smiling.
Charlaine Harris. Nora Roberts. Mercedes Lackey. For some reason, this week, people have wanted to talk “similar authors.” Sometimes I call them starter authors, people whose body of work lead people to others who are similar in theme or style, yet different. And they lead to another, to another, and the reading path goes on and on and on, great writers, popular writers, eclectic writers, groupie writers. Who cares, so long as you’re enjoying them?
I love matchmaking in the bookstore. Please don’t ever apologize to a bookseller for wanting to ask about authors, dear ones. We LIVE for these opportunities. They’re not interruptions; they’re fulfillment.
Anybody wanna talk books?
I’ll second that about not apologizing for interrupting us. Chatting with customers beats Facebook any day.
Yep – after reading most of Hillerman, y’all introduced me to Doss, whose work I am not enjoying. Next – in search of some good old sea stories – when ships were made of wood and those in them were made of steel. Keep up the great matchmaking work!
Just out of curiosity, Tony, did you mean “not” or “now?” So we know what to recommend next time. :]
The closest to Nicholas Sparks I have found of late, is a novel by Sebastian Cole, entitled “Sand Dollar:A Story of Undying Love”. It hasn’t been out very long, but I’m sure your customers would love it.
I will keep an eye out for it; thanks!
I work in a library, and if I had a nickel for every time someone apologized for “bothering” me with a question, I could retire rich. Sometimes I want to put up a sign that says “Please ask me questions–that’s what I’m here for!” In fact, this kind of “making connections” with books and readers is what energizes my day. I love it when booksellers can do this–and take the time to do it. It’s part of what makes your place not just a store that sells things, but a place that enriches lives.
What she said, everybody!
I live in southeastern Massachusetts. As much as I would love to physically visit your bookstore every week, I cannot. It is on my list of places to go when I am down your way and I love reading your blogs. My question is this. I love reading and rereading Geraldine Brooks. Can you share some other authors with similar skill? Thanks!
mmmm…. To get started, what is it you like about her?
The well researched history interwoven with a wonderful tale.
OK, this is going to shock you, but Philippa Gregory, the War of the Roses series. Stay away from the Wideacre and the one-off novels but her Roses and her Tudor books are lovely for that. Racier than Brooks (well, not the Plague Year, but the rest). Also Alison Weir – she’s not as lyrical, her writing can be clunky, but she’s historically factual with bits filled around it. And if you like twice-told tale, you might try Paula Reed. She wrote “HESTER” which is the lost years of Hester Prynne. Neither factual nor original, and yet she reminds me of Brooks in her style. And Joan Didion has that way of getting down in the hearts of women, although what she writes about is very different.
Anybody else who likes Brooks want to recommend others?