“CUSTOMER: It makes me sad that grown up books don’t have pictures in them. You’re brought up with them when you’re younger, and then suddenly they’re all taken away.
BOOKSELLER: …Yes. It’s a cruel world.”
But, you know what, why should kids have all the fun? There are many books with beautiful illustrated pictures which we adults could read and enjoy as well! “Weird things customers say in bookshops” by Jen Campbell is one such book.
About the author:
Jen Campbell is an award-winning poet and short story writer. She is also a respectable vlogger with over 30k subscribers. Having worked as a bookseller for ten years, nobody could have done a greater justice to this book than her. Years back, a weird twitter question(‘What is your pet peeve?’) first sparked the idea behind her ‘Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops’ blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller’s collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. This book is a full length collection of those7 conversations, with beautiful illustrations by the Brothers McLeod. It also includes top ‘Weird Things’ from bookshops around the world.
This book is of interest for:
- People who love reading humor.
- People looking for books about books.
- People who are on a reading slump.
- Anybody looking for a change in their lives and won’t mind laughing.
Premise of the book:
Conversation is the thing, that this book is all about. The book is divided into three parts, first part talks about the conversations from the Edinburgh Bookshop, second from Ripping Yarns bookshop and last one includes tales from the bookshops around the world. When I started reading this book, I found many relatable and funny things in it. I started dividing the customers on the basis of their categories. I will be writing it down here, because I think in this way people will be able to understand this book better and why they should read it. So here are the categories:
- Customers who are confused:
These type of customers cover the greater percentage of people visiting bookstores. They are either confused about the title of the book eg. asking for nineteen eighty six instead of nineteen eighty four by George Orwell, some are confused about the genre of the book, eg: asking for books on Enlightenment thinking of it to be book on how light bulb was being invented and some even end up swapping the characters of the books.
“CUSTOMER(to her friend): What’s this ‘literary criticism’ section? Is it for books that complain about other books?”
2. Customers who are realistic:
They are the haters of fiction books, they think that books in which animals like cats and mice are best friends are really stupid and unrealistic and kids should abandon such books. I guess they also forget the fact that once upon a time they were also kids! Also under this category comes those naggy parents looking for books on career choices for their toddlers.
“BOOKSELLER: Well, writers use that kind of thing to teach kids about accepting people different to themselves, you know?
CUSTOMER: Yeah, well, books shouldn’t pretend that different people get on like that and that everything is ‘la de da’ and wonderful, should they? Kids should learn that life’s a bitch, and the sooner the better.”
3. Customers who are unapologetically dumb:
These are those innocent customers who don’t even know that their questions could make a bookseller bang his head on the wall.
“CUSTOMER: Will you be open so I can buy the new Harry Potter book?
BOOKSELLER: Yep, we’re having midnight opening.
CUSTOMER: Great. What time?
4. Customers who are obsessed: These are least concerned about the content of the book or what they want to read as they are usually obsessed about making unimportant things right. They either don’t like the cover of the book, or the name of the bookseller. They think that arranging books by size and colour would make them look pretty, completely ignoring the fact that no one would be able to find anything then.
” CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Atonement? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightley’s neck makes me want to punch things.”
5. Customers who really ask weird question:
And of course, then comes these customers who ask such questions which could bring any bookseller into shock. These customers give the impression of aliens coming from different planets. They think that books are edible and could even conduct electricity. They are even curious about whether Anne Frank ever wrote a sequel to her first book.
” CUSTOMER(holding up a book about knitting): Do you think I could knit using my own hair?
This was just the glimpse of the quirky conversations and the plethora of fun elements present in this book. Do give it a read, as laughter is the best medicine that one can get!