where is your non-fiction?

When I was 27 I realized I had already held down twenty seven jobs. I have worked at everything from picking cucumbers, taking movie tickets, telemarketing, slinging sandwiches and being a part time travel agent. The constant in my working life has been bookselling. There are days when I love it and days when I think, not so much. But when I put a book in a customer’s hand and I know they’re going to love it as much as I do there’s real joy for me in that. Roberto Bolano brings me real joy every time I read him. And Between Parentheses, a compilation of essays, articles, and speeches has brought happiness or at least a smile to all the booksellers in my store. Here is an excerpt from a vignette entitled, The Bookseller.

We all have the bookshops we deserve, except for those of us who have none. Mine is the Saint Jordi, in Blanes, the bookshop of Pilar i Martori, in the town’s old riverbed. Once every three days I go there to poke around and sometimes I exchange a few words with my bookseller. Pilar Pages-petit, who as her name suggests, is a small woman, spends the mornings and some afternoons, too, when there aren’t many customers, sorting orders and delivery requests and reading her favorite books . . .Certainly any bookseller has more than enough reasons to be nervous, I say to myself when I hear the somber chords of John Coltrane, although my bookseller surrounded by soothing music, doesn’t seem to take things too hard. When I ask her if this was the kind of work she always wanted to do, she says she doesn’t know. She began as a librarian in Tordera, and eighteen years ago, when she came to live in Blanes, she opened her bookstore and she seems happy. I’m reasonably happy with my bookseller too. She gives me credit and she usually finds me the books I want and that’s all anyone can ask for.

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