I told you yesterday that I have a busy week ahead of me. Work is piling up all around me. Summer’s freedom is fast approaching, and I’ve been thinking lately that I have too much fun with my books to consider them actual work. Don’t misunderstand me. Selling books is actual work, hard work most of the time, and I need to produce a profit from my work, but the work associated with books is also quite enjoyable.
Fortunately for me, a bookseller’s duties are among the most pleasurable tasks a person can have. I almost feel guilty calling my work “work”. Following is a list of the bibliophilic activities which I hope to complete this week under the auspices of “work”. Do you think anyone in my household will notice that I am, by any reasonable person’s standards, getting too much enjoyment from something that is work?
Task 1: Reading other booksellers’ catalogues and the new issue of Firsts Magazine — for research, of course. 😉 “I’m sorry,” I’ll say. “I just couldn’t get to the dishes in the sink. I have too much work to do.” Then I’ll curl up in a quiet corner and read while my child labor (oops, I mean my sons) do the dishes. After all, doing chores develops character! 😉
Task 2: Reading new books that I got in the mail or at the library under the guise of “research” for writing catalogue descriptions. Don’t these titles sound like something a bookseller would read? The non-bookish sorts who make up my inner circle would take one look at these titles and faint from boredom. Not me. I devour the information within as though it is a chocolate ice cream sundae with a cherry on top.
Bookcloth in England and America: 1823-1850, by Andrea Krupp
Beauty and the Book: Fine Editions and Cultural Distinction in America, by Megan L. Benton
Created Equal: Women Campaign for the Right to Vote, 1840-1920 by Ann Rossi (to learn more about an 1852 letter I purchased in which a husband asks his wife how she will vote in the 1852 presidential election — almost 70 years before women got the vote).
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, by Pamela Smith Hill (in preparation for our trip to Wilder’s homesite in South Dakota this summer, and also in preparation for cataloguing some Wilder items I own.)
Task 3: I have several new acquisitions, which I need to describe and catalogue and list for sale. I try not to put new acquisitions on the shelves until I finish this. Instead, the new acquisitions are sequestered, and when I have time to have a cup of Earl Grey, I have a “getting to know you” session with them.
I can sit around for an afternoon or evening with my stack of magazines, catalogues, and books and claim to be “working”. In truth, I am looking at them, touching them, researching, and describing them. Few things are more exciting. (Don’t worry, the Earl Grey is kept on a separate table from the stack of books.)
Task 4: Last week, I met with a published poet who has a great book collection. In the next seven days, I have two “meetings” with other booksellers. Yes, we’ll meet. Yes, books will be bought and sold. That’s work. But the true gratification is in getting to know my fellow booksellers.
Reading, researching, writing, meeting with other bibliophiles, buying and selling books. Yep. I’m busy working. 😉
See you in the stacks!