Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores (Review)

Book cover for "Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores" by Jen Campbell.Title: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

Author: Jennifer Campbell

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 144

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Read while hanging out in a Chapters bookstore

From the cover:

“What is your biggest pet peeve?”

This simple Twitter question posed by John Cleese inspired bookseller Jen Campbell to start a blog collecting all the ridiculous conversations overheard in her bookstore, everything from “Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?” to “Did Charles Dickens ever write anything fun?” Anyone who has ever worked in retail will nod knowingly at requests like “I’ve forgotten my glasses, can you read me the first chapter?” Or the absurdity of questions like “Excuse me . . . is this book edible?”

Filled with fun and quirky illustrations by the award-winning Brothers McLeod and featuring contributions from booksellers across the United States and Canada, as well as the author’s native UK, 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. This irresistible collection is proof positive that booksellers everywhere are heroes.

Part of the appeal of reading this book, to be honest, was where I read it. In a bookstore! I needed to kill some time and this book caught my eye on one of those feature tables.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is basically a collection of comments and short vignettes about exactly what you think it will be about. Most of them are funny and some of them make you wonder how a person got to such a train of thought. A few are just sad. It’s largely the ridiculous ones that I enjoyed, the ones that made me want to giggle out loud and share the joke with someone.

That, I think, is the strength of this book. It makes you smile, sometimes in spite of yourself. Because of its structure, you don’t need to devote a lot of time to it, or you could even read it in tiny bits, consuming it slowly. It’s not anything serious and (too) thought-provoking, but it’s a nice read anyways.


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