Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Bookselling Is Harder than It Looks

My former director just posted this article from Fresh Eyes Now, the Shelf Awareness Newsletter. As a former bookseller, it made me smile. It's like a private joke that only those who have been there, who share the same pain (and laughter) will understand.

All over the world, booksellers greet them courteously, ask how they are. Perhaps no one has asked them that question all day, not even their families. They say "fine" in the language of the land because, quite suddenly, at this moment and in these special places, they are fine. There are empty chairs in quiet corners. Maybe they will just sit and read for a little while... in paradise.

Ten minutes later, they glance up from their reading to watch booksellers shelve a few novels. It's a beautiful, universal and almost ceremonial tableau. They think about the jobs they must return to when this break is over, the bosses who are mad at them for no reason, co-workers who are driving them crazy and the mountains of work piling up incessantly.

They can't help but consider an alternative: How pleasant it must be to just work in a bookstore.

You know the truth. It is pleasant most of the time--you can't imagine doing anything else--but it's also complicated. It's bookselling.

Full article here.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Spiritual Teachers

In Buddhist thought, anyone who brings a spiritual lesson home to you is considered kalyanamitra. They can take various forms along the path: as a teacher who gives you accurate information about your spiritual practice; as a fellow student who has been practicing for longer than you and is thus able to shed light on the path you are both on; and, ultimately, as a guru, one can guide you to enlightenment. In a less formal sense, spiritual friends also show up in your life as long time pals, new acquaintances, schoolteachers, and strangers who happen to comment on something you were just thinking about. Even your enemies demonstrate such friendship by forcing you to take a position, drop a particular activity, or gain clarity about who and what you truly desire. And if you’re fortunate, one day, one such friend will show up in a way that let’s you know beyond doubt that you’ve found your teacher.
~Susan Piver