Once upon a time, in an era that predates YouTube and streaming video and the endless amount of ways to waste time online…
I was working at a fairly large bookstore. The pay wasn’t great but the perks were pretty awesome. First of all, I got to spend all ding dang day with books and people who loved them. Even some of the customers loved them, which made my job even more enjoyable. I have a ton of stories about customers that seem to have wandered in there by accident, who asked for “that blue book on Oprah”, or were looking for a gift but didn’t seem to know anything at all for the person they were buying it for. But that’s for another day.
I had the internet but it was nothing like it is today and I didn’t have cable or satellite. For those outside of Canada, “cable” means more than 3 channels and you need a pair of rabbit ears, some tinfoil, and a steady hand to get two of them. So needless to say, I spent a considerable amount of my free time reading. I read an average of three books a week, some in one sitting.
One of the perks of the job was going to an annual book fair, where we were treated to a day of learning about all the new books that were coming out, talks from a few authors, and… (squeal!) an armload of FREE BOOKS to take home with us. I think I made off with about 20 titles. That’s a magical phrase, isn’t it? Say it with me. Free Books.
One of the books they gave me was “Bitten” by Kelley Armstrong. As soon as I saw the cover, I decided I wasn’t leaving that room without a copy. I sat there through the chitty chats and silently BEGGED them not to draw attention to the frighteningly small number of copies sitting on the table.
I started buying copies for people rather then loaning them mine, because it was… well… MINE.
It worked and when my turn came to pick out my first three books, I sauntered over to the table as casually as I could and tried not to allow the tears to overtake me as I clutched my copy of “Bitten” to my chest. To say I loved this book would be an understatement. The morning after I finished it, I talked to everyone and anyone about how amazing it was and how they simply HAD to read it. I sold 10 copies by the end of the day and convinced my manager to order 20 more. The paperback version was due out soon, so the hardcover was in the bargain section and that made it an easier sell. Before long, I had the manager ship every available copy from every store that would let us have them. I wrote a review and sent it to Random House, who forwarded it to Kelley Armstrong. She sent me a thank you e-mail, which thrilled me to no end. I wish I still had it. But I DID attend a book signing in a nearby city a few years back and had her sign my copy. I completely geeked out over her and don’t care who knows it. So needless to say, if you haven’t read it you should. They are actually filming a TV series based on the book, which premiered recently.
I totally geeked out.
I miss being on the front lines and discovering amazing books before anyone else is even aware of their existence. I miss chatting about books for hours on end with other crazed bibliophiles. I also miss reading. Oh, I read more than the average Jane but not nearly as much as I used to. I was watching a video about top picks for 2013 and a girl mentioned she read 93 books last year. 93!
So, I have decided to go through all of the books on my “definitely want to read those just as soon as I have time” list and make a new list of books I am “definitely going to read in 2014”. Then I will share it here with you and perhaps we can start a conversation.
Kelley Armstrong – author of the “Women of the Otherworld” series (among others) and me – Geeked Out Superfan