The nice thing about working in the same bookshop for a while is that you get to know your customers, especially your regular customers. You develop a good sense of their particular tastes and interests. What we often forget, though, is that this connection goes both ways: customers may just get to know what we like.
When you notice someone buying your favourite books you tend to start loudly and excitedly shouting about…umm, I mean, passionately recommending…other titles you are certain they will love. It was thus I found myself telling one of our regulars all about V. E. Schwab’s This Savage Song. You see, she was making her way through Schwab’s backlist, and I am a firm believer that This Savage Song is underrated.
Suddenly I found myself the victim of an unexpected reversal. Before I knew it, I was being pitched a book that sounded right up my alley. Readers, I was aghast – the bookseller had become the customer. I was delighted to see that Cloven Hooves (by Megan Lindholm, aka Robin Hobb) was already on our shelves. Quicker than you can say “employee discount”, it was mine.
I mentioned in my last post about Juliet Marillier that I’m an enthusiast of nature-based fantasy. This story of a woman running into the woods and meeting the god Pan sounded perfect. The odd part? I don’t think any of the books we had previously discussed suggested that this was something that I’d enjoy. Yet as soon as she described it, I was sure Cloven Hooves was one for me.
No matter how well you think you know your customers, they will surprise you. I shared my love for Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House a couple of months ago, but I wasn’t sure if the book would be a hit in Dun Laoghaire. Imagine my surprise (and pleasure) when I arrived into work this week to see it in our top 10!
Oh, the magic of bookshops and the people who visit them never ceases to fascinate me…