When the Bookseller Becomes the Customer

Cloven Hooves, by Megan Lindholm

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…

Dun Laoghaire's favourite blue haired bookseller. Gabbie loves nothing more than character-driven stories full of whimsy, the kind of stories that will grip your heart and refuse to let it go, but she will give any kind of book a chance. (she/her)

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