This particular book has been on my radar for awhile now, so I was extremely glad to finally having read it.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is a celebration of bookstores, large and small, and of the brilliant booksellers who toil in those literary fields, as well as the myriad of colorful characters that walk through the doors everyday.
My favorite quotes (and illustrations) taken from the book:
“CUSTOMER (to her friend): What’s this literary criticism section? Is it for books that complain about other books?”
“CUSTOMER: Where are your fictional novels?”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have any pop-up books on sex education?”
“Customer: If my daughter wants to buy books from the teenage section do you need to see some form of ID? It was her thirteenth birthday this weekend. I can show you pictures of the cake. You can count the candles.”
“CUSTOMER: Doesn’t it bother you, being surrounded by books all day? I think I’d be paranoid they were all going to jump off the shelves and kill me.
BOOKSELLER: . . .”
“CUSTOMER: Some of these books are dusty . . . can’t you hoover them?”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have security cameras in here?
CUSTOMER: Oh. (customer slides a book out from inside his jacket and places it back on the shelf)”
“CUSTOMER: I’d love to hold a fashion photo shoot in here. We could get models to come in and half bury themselves in books on the floor, or get them to hang from the bookshelves. Do you think your customers would mind?”
“CUSTOMER (holding up a copy of a Harry Potter book): This doesn’t have anything weird in it… does it?
BOOKSELLER: You mean, like, werewolves?
CUSTOMER: No (whispers) – gays.
BOOKSELLER: . . . right.”
“(Customer comes into the shop with her five year old son)
CUSTOMER: Come on, Alfie, take your shoes off.
BOOKSELLER: It’s OK… you don’t have to take your shoes off to come into the bookshop.
CUSTOMER: Please don’t encourage him. I’m trying to train him to remember to take his shoes off in the house because we’ve got new carpets. The more he does it, the more he’ll remember.”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have any books signed by Margaret Atwood?
BOOKSELLER: We have many Margaret Atwood books, but I’m afraid we don’t have any signed by Margaret Atwood, no.
CUSTOMER: I’m looking for a birthday present of my wife. I know she’d really love a signed copy. You couldn’t fake a signature could you?”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Atonement? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightley’s neck makes me want to punch things.”
“CUSTOMER: Where’s your poetry section?
BOOKSELLER: It’s just over here.
CUSTOMER: Great. Do you know who wrote the poem ‘Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too’?
BOOKSELLER: . . .
CUSTOMER: Do they have their own collection?”
“(Customer is reading a book from the shelf, pauses and folds the top of one of the pages over, then puts it back on the shelf)
BOOKSELLER: Excuse me, what are you doing?
CUSTOMER: I was just reading the first chapter of this book, but I’m going to be late meeting a friend for lunch. So, I’m just marking it and I’l finish reading it when I stop by tomorrow.”
“MAN: Hi, I’ve just self-published my art book. My friends tell me that I’m set to be the new Van Gogh. How many copies of my book would you like to pre-order?
BOOKSELLER: You know, Van Gogh was never appreciated in his lifetime.
MAN: . . .”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have any books on star signs?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, our esoteric section is over here.
CUSTOMER: Good, thanks. It’s just I really need to check mine – I have this overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen.”
“CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Jane Eyre?
BOOKSELLER: Actual y, I just sold that this morning, sorry!
CUSTOMER: Oh. Have you read it?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, it’s one of my favourite books.
CUSTOMER: Oh, great (sits down beside bookseller). Could you tell me all about it? I have to write an essay on it by tomorrow.”
“CUSTOMER: Have you read every single book in here?
BOOKSELLER: No, I can’t say I have.
CUSTOMER: Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?”
“CUSTOMER: I’ve always thought I’d like to open up my own bookshop.
BOOKSELLER: Oh, really?
CUSTOMER: Yes, definitely. There’s just something about it, you know? I just think it must be ever so relaxing.”
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores was really hard to put down, I kept thinking, “just this last one and then I’ll go to sleep.” (And I did… after saying that for 20 minutes…)
I can definitely see myself coming back to reread some of the statements on a gray day.