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A Simple Guide to Bookstore Etiquette

Reblogged from Quirk Books:

 

(image via the awesome Blue Willow Books)

 

Shopping in a bookstore is a bit like shopping at a hardware store: if you’re there for something specific, you need to know a thing or two about the item you’re looking for before attempting to find it in the aisles. If you’re there to browse, the world is your oyster.

 

As a bookseller, I’ve often heard people ask for a book they saw several weeks ago, on that table near the café (you know the one!), that had a blue cover. But lots books go on display every week, on many tables, and some of those books were published two, five, ten years ago! Feeling helpless and apologetic, all I can do is point out general sections of the store where they might find blue book. So to correct future sadness, arm yourself with bookstore etiquette and prepare to fill your arms with all the books you could ever want!

 

Unknown Object

Before you leave your home . . . you must decide: 1) are you just planning to browse, or 2) are you going to look for something specific? If you’re planning to browse, you’re usually in the clear. Ask a bookseller for the genre you’d like to explore, and they’ll happily point you in the right direction—and even offer some of their favorite books for you to peruse! (This is one of the many reasons it's better to buy books from human beings). If you’re looking for something specific, write down everything you know about the book that’s searchable: author, title, ISBN (those fun numbers on the barcode that start 978-la-di-da), genre, publication date, publisher. It will help you and the bookseller narrow down that book.

 

You’ve entered the bookstore . . . and you’re overwhelmed with all the books and displays and sections! That’s okay. A bookseller is always nearby to help. If they’re working with another customer, wait patiently. The attention they’re giving that customer is just the sort of attention they’ll give you once they’ve finished: undivided, enthusiastic, and determined! (See? People power!)

 

You’ve found your book(s) . . . but you’re not sure if you really want it. Will you read it? Will you like it? Any bookworm will tell you that, if you’re wavering, and in order to make such a big decision to build a connection with a book, you need to read the first few pages (or chapters!) to know whether you’ll like it. Some say open it in the middle and start reading. Others say start at the beginning. Some employ the page 69 test. Me, I always read the first 50 pages when I’m unsure. If I’m still hooked, I buy the book.

 

You’ve found your book(s) . . . and you notice the price(s). The price the bookstore offers is typically the price the publisher wants for the book (unless, of course, you’re in a used bookstore). With the changing economy, booksellers know money can be tight and that books may be pricey. Never complain about the price to a bookseller, or that it’s cheaper on Amazon (we're human beings! We have feelings!) Denying a purchase in-store means the death of the bookstore and the loss of a job! Well, maybe not that day, but eventually. And who would want bookstores to disappear forever?

 

Not the bookworms! If the price still bothers you, ask about discount programs. Many bookstores offer discounts to customers! A bookseller will happily explain the program for you. And if you're really hard-up, try browsing a used bookstore—the books are worn, but loved!

 

Head on over to the cash registers . . . and purchase those lovely books!

Go home . . . and enjoy the written word! Feel free to come back to the bookstore and gush all about the book to a bookseller – they love hearing your thoughts.

 

 

(image via flickr)

 

But let’s say your visit doesn’t quite follow this pattern. What should you do?

 

You thought you knew what you came for, but forgot . . . it’s okay. You know you saw it in the New York Times, or it was on Good Morning America this morning, or that it had “Angels” in the title and you think the author’s name was “Brown.” That’s still enough for a bookseller to find what you’re looking for. If you know it’s going to be a movie this fall, or that the book belongs in History, or that it was published in paperback in January and it is a Young Adult retelling of HG Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, the bookseller can Google those key ideas and find it for you. Every little searchable thing helps – except the color of the cover or the location of the display.

 

You have something to return . . . so you know the bookseller behind the cash register is hoping against all hope you have a receipt dated within the return policy. You’ve read the fine print on the front or back of the receipt about dates and returns. Your book within the return policy and it’s in good condition. Gratefully accept whatever form of return the bookseller can offer – cash, credit return, or store credit – and find another book to take home!

 

But let’s say you are outside of the return policy, don’t have a receipt, or the book is damaged. No one wants to be grumpy, and nothing ever runs smoothly when the air is filled with negativity and tension. Calmly explain your scenario, and the bookseller will give you the best return policy option available.

 

You read some books in a comfy chair or in the café/coffee shop . . . and decide you don’t want them. You don’t remember where you found them, so you find a bookseller and ask for the books to be put away, because your grandmother always said, “Clean up after your mess!” This makes a bookseller happy and it gives an opportunity for a future customer to find the book. Piles of forgotten books throughout the store only cause anger and mayhem – two words that should never belong in such a haven.

 

You’re enjoying the atmosphere of the café/coffee shop . . . and you purchase a coffee, tea, scone, or cookie. That’s excellent! You would never walk into a restaurant carrying a McDonald’s bag, taking up table space and eating food from an outside menu, right?

 

If you’re still curious about bookstore etiquette, peek into the mind of booksellers by visiting Minions of Isidore or cracking open Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – funny, charming, and entirely too accurate.

 

Make a bookseller’s day with your charm, intelligence, politeness, eagerness, and etiquette!

 

Laura Crockett is a graduate student, bookseller, Anglophile, tea devotee, musician, and book hoarder. Everything good in her boils down to her Midwestern upbringing. Follow her Downton Abbey obsessions on Twitter (@LECrockett) and book interests on her blog http://scribblesandwanderlust.wordpress.com

Source: http://quirkbooks.com/post/simple-guide-bookstore-etiquette

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season / Samantha Shannon

 

If not for my niece, I would not have known about this book’s existence.  She mentioned it to me in passing while we were Facebook chatting about Hollow City.  She seemed really enthusiastic about this and since I was in between books, I decided to go for this one.

 

It left me more confused than amused.  The first book is always important to a series because it can either make or break the whole thing.  This did neither.  It wasn’t so bad that it would discourage me to see it through all seven planned installments but it was engaging enough for me to read them as soon as they are released.  For all I care, this can be a one-shot standalone book and I’ll be fine with it.

 

The YA subgenre of dystopian fiction is getting so crowded.  How many worlds can you turn upside down and how many ways can you do it?  Authors have to think of something new to stand out.  Paige Mahoney is a special kind of clairvoyant.  She uses her powers to sneak into other people’s minds in search of information.  She answers to an illegal syndicate, the Seven Seals, that goes against the ruling government, the Scion.  Then she manages to get herself captured, not by Scion, but by something more powerful.  She and other “voyants” and “amaurotics”, normal folk, were taken prisoner by a foreign race called Rephaim in yet another underground world called Sheol I.  In total YA fashion, Paige gets picked by the best and nicest-looking “prince” of the Rephaim and what do you know, she automatically hates him just because.  Together with Paige, we learn all the rules of this new world; Paige “trains” with this hot Reph named “The Warden” and becomes the figurehead of a revolution.

 

(Okay, that sounded irritable and sarcastic. My apologies.)

 

This world is driven by jargon more than actual world-building.  Amaurotics, voyants, sibyls, emims, Mesarthim… I kept flipping over to the glossary to figure out what they were talking about.  And the maps were pretty much useless.  Sure, I’d rather you show me than tell me but when it comes to maps and directions, I’d rather you tell me.  My eyes glazed over a couple of times not because of detailed explanations but with inane and quite repetitive dialog.  With something as convoluted as this, I figured that I cannot afford to skim.  But I eventually gave up because everything started to sound like blah, blah, blah to me.  I didn’t lose anything even if I skimmed at some parts.  I still had a lot of questions when I finished the book… and it’s the basic ones, you know.  Like why are voyants persecuted?  What does the Seven Seals group do really?  It doesn’t require a sequel to answer these questions.  (If it does, then I’m done.)  I’m just having a hard time to accept this as if it is fact.

 

And this is probably the first time where I was left untouched by the lead male character.  I’m not looking for a falling-head-over-heels-for-Peeta effect.  But just… something.  I felt The Warden used Paige to fulfill his own agenda and masking that with “attraction” to her.  He said that everything he’s done was to “save her” from the Reph leader but if you really look into it, he trained Paige to be the Mockingjay of sorts, someone for the rest of Sheol I to follow.  An effective mentor-student attraction relationship is Vampire Academy’s Rose and Dimitri.  Dimitri is that stoic, unaffected character also but you can see his inner struggle about his feelings for Rose.  He was a likable character.  Hell, I couldn’t even dislike The Warden.  There was nothing to like or dislike about him.  But I guess that falls on the author’s writing style.

 

The title… “The Bone Season”.  What… where… did that even come from?  It was explained… in passing.  Oh-kay.

 

Seriously, whut?  It is just too complicated and overly ambitious.  I don’t know about “the next Harry Potter” because this felt closer to Mockingjay than HP.  I didn’t even like Mockingjay but that is exponentially better than this one.  The only similarity to HP is that it’s set in the UK.  It marginally picked up in the end but even though I liked the escape and action sequences, it was so not worth trudging through that hot mess to get there.

 

If this is going to be a 7-part series then… best of luck to you.  Series such as HP and Song of Ice And Fire had a clear direction from book one and even with all the characters and places, it was easy to follow because they felt genuine and engaging.  All this pomp and obvious effort to pad this book with jargon felt so forced and ultimately, unimpressive.

 

Rating: 3/5.  Two-and-a-half actually.  Half point was generous… for the effort.

Books and Movies

Usually, I read the book before I go out and watch the movie adaptation.  But over the weekend, I did the opposite.

 

First of all, I want y’all to know that RoboCop was awesome!  I love my Swedish men and Joel Kinnaman is one of the very good ones.  I kinda wanna watch it again actually.  I genuinely enjoyed it!

 

We missed an earlier showing and the next one was two hours later.  We changed our tickets and since we were in the movie theater already, we decided to loiter.  And uhm… watch other movies.  LOL!  I know, I know… that’s bad, I know.  But hey!  We didn’t watch the whole movie.  XD  I first ventured into the theater showing Frozen and stayed until Kristoff sang Reindeers Are Better Than People.  I watched that movie 4+ times so I moved on.

 

I went in to Vampire Academy next.  It was just starting and I had 15 minutes to spare.  I planned to read the book about a week before the movie release but I wasn’t able to do it.  Frankly, I was tired of vampire fiction.  But a book lover friend said it was worthwhile so I bumped it up my TBR list.  The movie was released, not really doing well, and I still haven’t read the book.  Looks like, I’m not contributing to that gross.

 

But as I watched a small bit of the movie, I was intrigued.  Dhampir? Olga Kurylenko?  Sami Gayle?  I don’t normally go for YA with a tone like that, a very high school-y and whiny tone, but the world was interesting.  It was like Hogwarts for vampires and whatever Dhampirs are.  (I actually know what Morois are lol.)  The acting was rather bad but no acting is required when reading.  I didn’t know the cast well enough for me to imagine them while reading.

 

I enjoyed RoboCop and as soon as I got home, I booted up my Kindle and started on Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.  It seems like a fast read.  Not much is given in terms of world-building foundation… it explains stuff as it goes along.  It has that whiny teenager tone but none of the bad acting so that’s bearable.  Even for vampire fiction, it’s not my cup of tea but… it’s not boring or annoying so I’m giving it a chance.  I’m seeing it through.

 

As for the movie, maybe I’ll just rewatch RoboCop.

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

 

How come we don’t have YA as awesome as this anymore?  I’m not hating but man, I’ll take this over the vampires, werewolves, dying teens, and paranormal activity.  And to think, this was written in 1985!

 

I read Ender’s Game a few years ago.  When I heard that there was a movie coming out, I wanted to read it again before watching the film.  I loved both.  LOVED.  I figured I can review the book and the movie at the same time.  The movie stayed pretty faithful to the book and the liberties they took made the story more kid-friendly and it didn’t distract much from the original.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

It might be a futuristic setting but the some school and peer issues are familiar.  Ender deals with isolation, jealousy, and bullying in the hands of upper classmen and his classmates who feel threatened of his intelligence and abilities.  From the start, he was favored by the administration and he rose up the ranks faster than anyone.  His achievements also earned him respect and these friends advanced along with him.

 

They train in mock battles in rooms that simulate outer space.  They fight in “toons” (platoons) where they practice formations and tactics in order to defeat the other toon.  They are ultimately training to fight against Buggers.  The administration found a perfect general in Ender.  Because of that, they push him to the limit, alienate him from the rest and flaunt is obvious superiority to them.  Ender hates it, of course.  His only solace is his sister, Valentine.

 

This was released in 1985.  And yet, they were already talking about tablet computers where you can store your information, take lessons, and play games.  The iPad, anyone?  Their training sessions were like real-life Space Invaders.  It was like watching – reading – a video game commentary.  Kids of all ages can definitely get sucked into this world.  I was rooting for Ender and his friends.  He seemed like a good smart kid who was being picked on because he was different.  We all can relate to that.

 

What really got me was the ending.  Their toons train so much that it does become repetitive.  But just as you decide to skim through the training chapters, you’ll be blindsided by the conclusion.  Read carefully or you’ll miss it.  It is one of the most satisfying endings that I’ve read in YA in a long time.

 

As I mentioned before, the movie stayed quite true to the book.  Unfortunately, it did not do well in the box office so sequel might not happen.  But we have this movie.  Do you  need to read the book to understand the movie?  Not really.  The movie stands alone just fine but you will appreciate it more if you’ve read the book.  The movie has a rather flat tone; Ender (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) was either angry or irritated throughout the whole film.  To me, having read the book, it wasn’t bland acting.  Book!Ender was pretty much the same.  He was bitter and he felt that he was treated unfairly.  Asa Butterfield showed that well.  Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham was a bit off.  I imagined a different image but he nailed that New Zealand accent!  My mom and I were going back and forth, was he doing an Australian accent or was it Kiwi?  Man, I’ve watched enough LOTR interviews to differentiate the two.  And Mazer is described as a person of Maori descent.

 

The kids have a bigger role in the book than in the movie.  The movie was all Ender.  I wish movie!Bean (Aramis Knight) had more spunk.  He was great in the book and just okay in the movie.  Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) was just there.  I remember her doing more in the book.  I’m glad they kept Alai (Suraj Parthasarathy) and his special bond with Ender.  Moises Arias as Bonzo came across as a comic relief.  At least to me.  In the book, he actually scary.  In the movie, he was a bully but I think the casting of his cronies didn’t work so well.

 

I enjoyed the movie more because I read the book.  I can’t tell which one I like more, to be honest.  The movie is one of the more faithful adaptations and I’m glad they did that.  My mom who did not read it also liked it.  Ender’s Game is definitely a must-read.  I encourage everyone to pick it up and read it.

Rating: 5/5.  A favorite.  Watch the movie too!

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