Monday, January 12, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately? Customers, Please Let Us Know!

Even before I started selling books, I'd get this question a lot. The answer was always (obviously) yes. Now that I work at The Bookstore, I've discovered a wonderful flipside to the question-- I now love to pose it to our customers. There's no such thing as a bad answer, but I especially like it when a customer tells me about a book we haven't even heard of before.

Here's an example. I started chatting with a customer who enjoyed The World To Come by Dara Horn, one of my favorites. We started comparing notes, and found out we had similar taste. She told me about Love's Executioner And Other Tales of Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom -- she liked it so much she had it tabbed and highlighted -- so of course I ordered it.

I was a little doubtful, because the book looks and sounds a little weird. I mean, who wants to read a bunch of true stories about people in therapy? (I've got my own problems!) But I loved it. It was fascinating and insightful. In one of the stories, it explains how existential therapy asks the simple question, "what do you want?" Even between perfect strangers, this question can generate some pretty intimate answers. Between a psychotherapist and patient, it can bring out the deep anxieties that underlie bizarre obsessions. Between friends, it can help us make sense of our perfectly normal denials and secret longings. I think it could be a really interesting book club discussion book. A little like group therapy, maybe?

While Love's Executioner might not be for everyone, I thought it was great, and I've recommended it to others since. But the point is, I don't think I ever would have found out about this book if it wasn't for a customer.

So, here's your chance, customers! What have you read lately that we should know about? We'd love to hear about your new find! Post a comment and be the source of a hot new read at The Bookstore.


  1. I love this blog idea to learn about good reads. As I usually am reading 2 books at a time (why, I don't know), I just finished Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. Written with much poetic license (who knows what really happened in the times of Pharoah and Ramses), the author uses the presumed family tree from these times to present the rise of the Queen Nefertari. If you can get over the beginning few chapters written in the voice of a 13-year-old lovesick girl, it can sweep you away to a different time.
    I'm also reading The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, which really foretold the house of cards that the financial community built over the past 10 years (and it was written in 2007). The author presents some brilliant ideas in a very thoughtful and interesting way (since his background is part finance, law, quantitative mathematics and philosophy!).

  2. I was sent the following book by way of a press package from someone who mistakenly thought I reviewed books. It's not the type of reading material I would normally pick up. Nonetheless, one day I started reading it. It wasn't a page turner, in that I couldn't put it down--I often did. But then, I could not keep myself from picking it up again within a day or so.

    It turned out to be a wonderful history lesson with a poignant wrap-around ending. Great narrative nonfiction covering personal stories that helped me frame some of today's world issues. I also believe it unveils a greater and timely message for all of humanity, including we here in the USA.

    TITLE: The Last Jews of Kerala

    AUTHOR: Edna Fernandes

    "The 2,000 year history of India's forgotten Jewish Community."

    It's more compelling than it might sound. Fascinating, really. Great storytelling.


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