Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Best Job in the World: Bookseller/Matchmaker

Not too long ago I had one of those days at The Bookstore that made me realize that selling books is one of the best jobs in the world. Sometimes you just click with a customer, and you learn enough about them to be able to recommend some really good books (that are luckily all in stock!). You end up in this happy-reader zone together, and it makes you feel like a matchmaker at a wedding.

This particular customer was a religious librarian going on a mission trip to Africa. I couldn't imagine a better fit than The Camel Bookmobile, about a New York librarian who volunteers with a camel bookmobile in Kenya, What is the What, Dave Eggers' beautiful fictionalized autobiography of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and A Prayer for Owen Meany, a classic must-read about faith and fate by John Irving.

It's a perfect trio of books for our customers who have been involved in mission trips to Africa or South America, through our local churches or Wheaton College. Also, keep your eyes open for a staff favorite coming out in the U.S. in February, Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. I have a rapturous post about this book when the advance copy first arrived in October. It's a shimmering, hopeful story about an illegal immigrant who escapes the horrifying civil war that descended on her village in Nigeria. I can't wait to sell it.

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