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Shady lady

A customer sidled up to me in the library looking shifty and asked if I could help her look for a book.

Judging by her hushed tones, flushed cheeks and the nervous glances she kept flinging over her shoulder I assumed she was looking for information of an "intimate nature" - a book about piles perhaps, or something ingrowing. Unless she was on the run from the police and wanting a place to hide.

Or looking for our adult literacy collection. People are often embarrassed about admitting they don't, or can't, read very well.

Just in case, I adopted my most helpful expression (think therapist with a hint of favourite auntie - but stunningly attractive.) After a recent similar request I ended up in a long and hushed but illuminating discussion about autism with a lovely grandma looking for books on the subject after her grandson was diagnosed.

Imagine the sense of anti-climax when she asked in a whisper if we had Jordan/Katie Price's latest autobiography - "the one since the divorce." If not, what about the "style" book?

I try not to judge people on their reading tastes. Whatever roasts your chestnuts as they say. Oh, apart from those people who read pile after pile of "True Crime - The Bloodier and More Gory and Gut-Churning the Better." I do worry a little about those people.

It's interesting that the customer sounded ashamed though. I half expected her to ask for a plain paper bag to put it in, and whether we kept our copies under the counter.

As it happened, all Jordan/Katie Price's books were out on loan. Even the "novels."

She's ruddy popular, damn her.


Queenie said…
Great post, thanks for the giggles! I know what you mean about those 'true crime' books - I was sitting on a train, recently, next to a woman who was reading a book about gruesome murders which gave all sorts of revolting details. Why? Why???
Denise said…
Is it better that she knows it's tripe and still wants to read it? Can't make up my mind on that one! I suppose at least she's not promoting it up the bestsellers lists by actually buying the thing!
Karen said…
jj - Thank you!

queenie - I do find it puzzling and can't help wondering if they become desensitised at some point?

denise - That's a good point! Maybe she didn't want to part with her hard-earned cash :o)
Christine said…
I identified with this post, having worked in libraries some years ago. Sometimes I found that people were ashamed of reading light romances. There appeared to be a degree of guilt about not reading something more 'worthy'.
Enjoyed your description of the lady's behaviour. I do remember those requests in hushed tones for information on matters medical!
Fia said…
You are so funny and I mean that in a ha,ha way. I hope you're saving all this stuff up as it would make a great book.

I found a love letter in a library book once.
Anna said…
You always start my day off with a chuckle! If only WE had a Katie Price here!!
Kaye Manro said…
Hi Karen! Great funny post. It sounds like you have some very interesting experiences where you are. Good stuff for your own stories!
Amanda said…
Great post, Karen - I needed a chuckle!
Karen said…
christine - Thanks for dropping by :o) Yes, we get customers making excuses for why they're reading a Mills & Boon, as if it's a crime!

fia - You're too kind :o) I'm intrigued by the love letter you found in a book - in fact I can feel a story coming on ...

anna - You should probably be thankful you haven't. Having said that I'm still hooked on "I'm a Celebrity ..." and she's in it at the moment!

kaye manro - Hi, thanks for popping in :o) The stories I could tell - they say truth's stranger than fiction!

amanda - Happy to oblige m'dear :o))
SpiralSkies said…
I suppose the beauty of Amazon is that we can order our shameful reading material anonymously.

Bless her though. That has quite made my day.
Lorna F said…
Great post, Karen! I agree with Denise - at least she wasn't buying the book. I wonder how many frustrated writers are phoning in to I'm a Celebrity to make sure Katie keeps doing those bush tucker trials! :)
Lane said…
So funny.

Have you ever written a short story set in a library? Or a novel??
LilyS said…
lol i like this! I know I shouldn't but I really like Katie Price. I've no desire to read her 'novels' though.
KatW said…
Your posts make me laugh out loud. Thanks for cheering up my days. You are so going to get your novel published with wit like this.X
Suzanne Jones said…
Oh, that's hilarious.

Debs said…
So funny. I think KP isn't nearly as bad as she's made out to be (shall I duck now?) although she doesn't do herself any favours.

Mind you I wouldn't mind making the money she does, or half of it for that matter.
Annieye said…
How funny. I have a funny library story, too. I'll tell it to you sometime. To cut a long story short a dippy library assistant in our library said to me the Saturday before last 'it's a good job you're not a writer or anything or else I would get the sack'.

Tee hee hee. I loved it. My very undiplomatic hubby's reply was: 'No danger of that mate - by the way did you know they are interviewing for your job in the graveyard in the church?'

Can you believe it - the man actually laughed!!!!!
Olivia Ryan said…
Yes, that made me laugh! I wonder if she was trying to get the book for a third party - perhaps a mum or daughter who liked KP - and she herself was embarrassed to be asking for it! (fair enough!). Yes - irritating how popular those books are, isn't it. I'm not at all jealous or upset about it, of course .... grrrr!
!!! I, like you, thought she'd be after the piles option.
What IS it with Katie Price... her face has been on every magazine for months and months.
Love your blog! Makes me giggle...
Its wierd isnt it? I found a copy in my daughters bedroom once...
Leigh said…
I suffered similar embarrassment going into HMV and asking for Tom Jones. Imagine my delight when the teenage (male) assistant confessed (in equally hushed tones) that he liked Tom Jones too!
Karen said…
spiralskies - Exactly. Not that I have any shameful reading material. Apart from heat magazine ...

lorna f - She definitely got fed-up in the end - I almost felt sorry for her. Until I remembered how many books she'd sold!

lane - Do you know, I haven't but I should! Loads of material, as I'm sure you can imagine :o)

lilyS - There is something awfully compelling about her isn't there? I'm sure she went in the jungle to win Pete back :o)

katw - How lovely, thank you :o))

suzanne - She came back at the weekend and I heard her asking someone else, in a loud whisper!

debs - Funny though how having all that money still hasn't made her really happy :o(

colette - Thank you :o)

womag writer - Thanks - there's plenty more where that came from!

annieye - That's funny :o) Our Saturday assistants are a bit dippy, and none of them read much which is a bit of a shame.

olivia ryan - She admitted it was for herself - said she wanted some light reading while her family were away, so at least she was honest!

ladybird world mother - Thank you :o) The mags can't seem to get enough of her, but she does give them plenty of fodder.

fionnuala - Was it the autobiography or the pony books? (hang on, I know far too much about this woman ...)

leigh - I love Tom Jones! People are embarrassed though, if they like someone not perceived by the general public as being 'cool'
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