About a month from now I get to hit the road in support of Generation Dead, visiting with booksellers, librarians, and other cool people. I'll be going to Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and then I'll spend a day in New York. Never been to two of those places so I am incredibly psyched up for the trip, I'm laying in special snacks, programming special travel songlists on the iPod, and socking away select books to read along the way. I may even wear an interesting hat.
I spent a few years working as a bookseller, a job I consider to be imbued with Noble Purpose (caps mine). Encouraging people to read, bringing reluctant or recalcitrant readers to "the good stuff"--such a task is chock full of nobility, if you ask me.
Those people work hard, and the sheer volume of customers can make for a stressful existence during the holiday season. People, please be kind, no matter what side of the counter you are on. Customers, be gentle if the clerk you are working with doesn't instantly recognize the title you are hunting for--the human mind was not meant to hold everything in the frontal lobe at all times. Booksellers, take heart. My mantra was "our customers read--or at least they know someone who does". Laugh if you will, but repeated that phrase fortified me when facing the hordes of desperate people pillaging the store for a last minute holiday gift. At the end of the day, what you've done is important. One deserving title in deserving hands that would not have been purchased without your effort represents yet another forward step in the progress of humankind.
Yes, I really believe that. To believe otherwise is madness.
So here's to the booksellers! I'm looking forward to meeting you!