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After I quit my job last year I went to work in a used bookstore. Working in a bookstore is like no other job in the world.

Time is a lot longer when you work in a bookstore. I think there must be eighty or ninety minutes in an hour. You can get so much done and still have long and leisurely conversations with the gorgeous, well-read Goth girl that comes in on her lunch hour. Yet, paradoxically, although time is longer, it's also faster. Those eighty or ninety minutes zip by when you're straightening or reading1 and pretty soon it's six o'clock and it's time to close up shop.

And you can play games with customers by tricking them into buying the books of your favorite authors ("Oh, yeah, Kathy Acker is a lot like Danielle Steele. Very easy reading. Very accessible.") and even if they don't like the book you suggest, they never complain because they're afraid that they're missing something and that they'll end up looking stupid.

And it's just plain fun to talk about books. You can talk about the books you've read, the books you're reading, and the books you want to read. And since books cover every conceivable subject you never know what the conversation will veer into. Talking about books is much better than talking about the weather.

I miss working in a bookstore.


1Another cool thing about working in a bookstore is that reading is actually part of the job (although not as big a part as I would like) because you really need to be well and widely read to help the customers.

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