Sunday, May 17, 2009

Decoding Your Book Shelf

One of my favorite things about working in a book store (besides the employee discount, of course) is seeing the books customers choose to buy. This can range from the obvious, like Captain Underpants for any young boy, to the more bizarre choices I would never have selected for the customer myself. I think of this as a more in-depth version of people watching. I like to set myself up on a corner somewhere in Old Town or in the middle of a park and simply enjoy the unusual and usual people who come by. In a bookstore, however, I not only get to watch the people come and go, but a get a little glimpse into their personal life as well. One book I am always interested in is Mark Kurlansky's Salt. This book, found in our history section, seems so oddly specific that I couldn't imagine who I might recommend it to, yet at the same time I can completely understand why someone would pick it up. The history of something so seemingly trivial is often more influential than one might imagine.

What a person chooses to read says a lot about them. You can see this on staff pick shelves, as well. I try to include a few different genres on my shelf, but it's impossible to keep myself from being partially revealed within my choices. Even I wasn't aware of my passion for science fiction until I started working here and realized that without even intending so, six of my eight choices were sci-fi of some kind.

Books can be revealing. I suggest, if you're reading this at home, you take a look at your own shelf and see what it says about you. You might be surprised at what you find.

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