Tag Archives: Dean Koontz

God, Frankenstein, and Book Karma

Last week a lady came in and asked if we had Dean Koontz’s five-book Frankenstein series. We had three of them for three dollars each; did she want to order the others? They’d run about five dollars per.

Yes, she did, but we recognized the hem and haw of someone who didn’t have enough money to do what she wanted immediately. We told her to just come on back when she was ready and we’d order them. She bought the first book and we put the other two we had in stock (books 4 and 5, sadly) aside for her.

About three days later, a man came with two tubs of books left over from his wife’s garage sale. Janet Evanovich, Sara Paratesky, and, yes, you guessed it, Dean Koontz. And which Koontzes? 

Volumes 2 and 3 of the missing Frankensteins.

When the lady came back in expecting to spend $10 and wait awhile for her prize, we charged her $6 and sent her home with the next two. It’s just something that happens in the bookstore. A lot, actually.

Jack says it’s God looking after people who deserve more than they can afford.

I don’t know how God feels about Koontz books – after all the guy did write that one about his dog being an angel – but I’m pretty sure of how He feels about people in general, and poor people in particular.

But then, if God were attending to that level of detail in everyone’s life 24/7, the question of why He allows other, less pleasant things to happen rears its ugly head. That way lies madness – or prosperity theology, believing that God only wants us to be rich and happy. Or, as I said, madness.

God certainly has more serious issues than pulp fiction to attend to every day; I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people. But maybe sometimes Sparrow Watcher God also keeps those as need reading material in sight. 



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Train Wreck Books

I have friends who are addicted to a TV show called “Walking Dead.” They are smart people with busy lives, so I don’t judge them–in public.

Sometimes we all need a little escapism, and they keep describing some crossbow tough guy Daryl who’s actually a sensitive caring soul; he seems to be doing the trick for them.

Yet bibliophiles are not so different. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that Jack and I are bemused by customers who simultaneously buy Christian romances and Patricia Cornwells, but we also get it. As a friend who works with criminal court cases involving the abuse of children once said, “If I can read something worse than what I see every day, it reminds me there’s still room to look down.”

In fact, friends addicted to “Walking Dead” run heavily to academics working with the next generation of students. Perhaps we’ll stop that line of speculation now. But the fact remains that people enjoy reading about the train wrecks of others, mostly because we like to remind ourselves that things could be worse than we know they are. Gives us hope. Or cynical laughter.

Sometimes, in the dark spots, those two things aren’t that different, y’know?

We greet a lot of female customers sporting casual business attire and sensible, low-maintenance haircuts, who come into our bookshop and smile at us without saying much. They browse for 20 minutes, and leave with nine Ann Rules and a Karen Kingsbury. We know from previous conversations what kinds of jobs they do. Bless them for it, and we will keep stocking the shelves with those nasty paperbacks full of train wrecks that reassure them there’s still room to drop.

Is it reassuring? Well, maybe it’s like comfort food. A Kraft Mac and Cheese box supper served warm on a plate might have repercussions later, but it feels good going down. And it gives us the strength to get out there and do what must be done.

Go, girls. We’re rooting for you. Karen Slaughter and Dean Koontz will be waiting when you need them.


Filed under book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, publishing