Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Had one of those mornings at the library, where I felt like a newbie, rather than someone who's worked there for almost eight years. (Eight years?? Let me put that another way... 8 years!! Crikey. Where did that go??)

First thing, a customer asked me to recommend a book. Something to take on holiday. Not too heavy-going.

Erm...I said, eloquently.

Now you'd think working in a library, writing a weekly book review for the local rag, plus being an avid reader and all, I could easily pluck a novel off the shelf and say with some confidence, "what about blah, blah, blah, by Thing ? It's erudite, but witty. The author has drawn heavily on her experiences of shoe-shopping in remote areas, and I think you'll be touched. "

However, the first two books that sprang to mind were already on loan.

"Not much use then," she cackled.

"What sort of thing do you like?" I ventured, breaking out in a light sweat.

"Nothing too Mills & Boony."

"Ah. Family saga?"

"What's that?"

"This..." - I show her a book with a waif in a shawl on the cover.

"Oooh no. Too depressing." (?)

"Not really."

"She's supposed to be good." Points to a Marian Keyes.

"Oh yes, she is."

"They're too thick."

Inward sigh.

"Do you like crime?"

"As long as it's not too gory."

Christ. How am I supposed to know? I haven't read them all.

"Ruth Rendell?"


"Inspector Wexford?"

"Inspector Rendell?"

"...they used to be on the telly."

"Like Diazel and Pascoe?"

"Sort of."

"I prefer watching than reading that sort of thing."

"Horror?" I said.



"Too much like 'ard work."

"Feel-good?" I said, fingering a Catherine Alliott.

"Never 'eard of 'er.

"She's good though."

"What's she like?" Fingering a Barbara Taylor Bradford.

"Haven't read anything recently, but she's very popular," I said, fingers itching to slap her.

"It's just for the journey."

"What about a travel book? Like a memoir?" Clutching at straws.

"I know!" she said, eyes lighting up. "You do magazines here don't you?"

And off she trotted, mac flapping gently. I felt sad that I hadn't managed to persuade her, yet strangely happy to see the back of her.

"Excuse me," said a scholarly looking gentleman, as I approached the enquiry desk. "Could you help me find a bibliography of fiction published in India pre-1947?"


Ever had one of those days??


Tom Foolery said...

Excuse me miss, Do you have a copy of Fly Fishing By J R Hartley ;-) TFX

HelenMH said...

You mean you HAVEN'T read all of the books!? I'm shocked! There's no pleasing some people is there?

Annieye said...

Sounds like she needed a slap round the face with a wet kipper!

I've been in our library often with the agendas when the staff are engaged in a similar conversation. It always makes me smile. There's one old boy goes in our library who's mad on Elvis Presley. He's always asking the staff if there's anything new about Elvis.

Debs said...

LOL. You can't help all of the people all of the time, I suppose but you certainly tried to help her. Hope you have a better day today.

Faye said...

Hey Karen--I think you were just subected to a roving performance review. Hopefully Ms. Not too Heavy, to Gory, too Depressing, Better in a Magazine doesn't write your paycheck!

Anna said...

Asta's Book by Barbara Vine... that's my 2 p...

that and a nice brick upside her head... oh yeah...

Lane said...

Pity the poor person who has to sit next to her on the journey:-(

Maybe you should find something really raunchy to recommend to her next time. Might cheer her up;-)


tf - I do. It's over there, next to that copy of How To Deal With Annoying People: What to Do When You Can't Avoid Them. Madam.

helen - I know. I need to get cracking :o)

annie - There's always one. Usually when I'm working!

debs - No difficult customers today, thank goodness !!

faye - She doesn't! She didn't even take a magazine in the end, either!

anna - I love that book! No bricks lying around unfortunately...

lane - I never thought of that - a bit of "Black Lace" might have done the trick. And I don't mean the annoying band that sang Agadoo either.

Paul Capewell said...

Haha, customers like that do make me laugh. I mean, what are they expecting you to do? Know exactly what they want?

I tend to make a habit of saying that I don't exactly do fiction, but I'm also getting slightly concerned about the reference enquiries I'm going to start getting thrown at me!

Now to practice my "clever" look... Hmm.

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