We work pretty hard to keep our bookshop tidy. Jack says I am fixated on it and that used book stores should be the wee bit sloppy – aids in the thrill of discovery, doncha know.
Yes, dear. But I do like a wee bit of order to my life, and the shop’s bookshelves. Which is why I’m befuddled at the science fiction section. The books keep escaping.
The customers who cruise sf in our shop are tidy people; they tend to be looking for particular authors rather than browsing, so they’re pretty easygoing about keeping the books in place. I’ve seen men slide books out from the bottom of a paperback stack, realize it wasn’t what they wanted, and hold the whole stack up so they could return it to the exact same spot. Book shoppers are good people.
So I know it’s not them, the reason that L. Ron Hubbard keeps winding up in the children’s room. Or that Jack Whyte hangs out in Home Improvement. I can just about understand Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series relaxing with the Amish romances in Christian Fiction, but why on EARTH does James Axler keep heading for Patricia Cornwell? You think they’ve got something going?
I swear, one of these nights, I’m going to creep downstairs with night vision goggles and just watch, to see when the books begin their migrations, and what they talk about. In fact, this may well explain the mysterious dips in the liquid levels in our whisky and wine collection. I’m going to have to check the copyright dates for legal drinking ages.
Meanwhile, every morning, as I carry Axler back to his spot at the top of the Science Fiction shelf, I swear I can hear the books snickering. And sometimes, I catch a whiff of cigarette smoke.(Don’t forget to scroll back to Sept. 10 and enter the final Caption Contest sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. It closes Sept. 24; winner receives a free book. Ostensibly mine that comes out Oct. 2, but if you want another one we can probably manage that.)