Ok, I know I promised pictures of my weekend, but unfortunately I have none to offer. Because all the planned adventures? Didn’t happen. For a variety of reasons, one of which was the great British summertime!
Yes indeed, Saturday saw that marvellous and traditional English weather combination of torrential rain punctuated by occasional thunder and lightning. Combined with car troubles, this put a speedy stop to all our planned historical fun, which resulted in a fabulously lazy day of sleeping in until highly inappropriate hours of the afternoon, a three hour walk during which we got soaked to ths skin by the most sensational downpour and caught in a storm in the middle of beautiful rain-drenched fields of maize, and a drink in the local before I caught the train home. It was unbelievably relaxing and recharging – whether it was the rain or the storm or the fresh air I don’t know, but I felt calm, pleasantly tired and buzzing with energy by the end of the day!
Waterstones was pleasantly busy yesterday, not so much so that it was unpleasant, but enough to make shelving a bit on the tricky side, and for the day to pass quite quickly. My favourite moment was whilst shelving in the YA “dark romance” fiction section. To create context, the YA dark romance section is currently overhsadowing every other element of teen fiction with it’s multitude of black-jacketed, badly written Twilight bandwagon jumpers. It was amongst these gothic spines that a young man – probably undergrad age – approached and asked whether I worked there.
With my best “how can I help?” smile I answered in the affirmtive and glanced at the book in his hand, ready to enagage with his choice and recommend based on his tastes – only to see the new YA dark romance cover on Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. He held it up for me to see, and I felt my stomach drop, expecting the all-too-common yet always- astounding “Is this any good?” kind of question…
“I’m really, really sorry,” he began, “But I just wanted to bring this to your attention and check…” He hesitated then blurted it out. “I can’t agree with this. This is a brilliant, brilliant book. It’s a classic. How can you shelve it with such drivel??”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud – hell, it was all I could do not to kiss the poor boy!
“Can I move it to classics?” he asked, near begged. “Please?”
“We have other editions in classics,” I replied, “And besides, it’s there for a good reason: wouldn’t you rather leave it where some impressionable young Twilight fan might pick it up, take it home and devour it only to be turned on to the Brontes?”
His face lit up with understanding.
“I’d better put it back,” he grinned, sliding it into the gap from which he’d pulled it five minutes previously. (This last detail may seem unworthy of comment, but I drop it in for booksellers everywhere who understand the frustration of the standard “throw-it-back-anywhere-on-the-shelf-regardless-of-whether-it’s-alphabeticcaly-correct-or-upside-down-or-spine-inwards-or-even-in-entirely-the-wrong-section-of-the-shop” customer. Just to really drive home how great this guy was. He was awesome!)
Five minutes later, still beaming broadly, I related the story to my colleague. “And he was quite young? Great!” she enthused, “Makes you feel there’s hope for the next generation after all!”