Warning: Book Geek Alert


On Tuesday my kids and I went to Borders. I prefer to support independent bookstores, I really do. But I had a car appointment in Bangor and with gas prices being so high it’s always wise to consolidate trips. Besides, I had a 30% coupon and it’s never a good thing to let those puppies go to waste.

I have to admit I was pretty excited. I’ve been on a good roll book-wise recently (Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Gerard Jones’ Ginny Good, Jasper Fford’s Thursday Next series, Virgina Woolf’s The Waves–99 cents at Goodwill) so I had high hopes of finding something worthy of my coupon. Oh, if only that were the case.

I browsed every section in the store. I picked up Jeff Shaara’s new WW2 epic The Steel Wave, but discovered that it was part 2 in a trilogy, and that I hadn’t even heard that Part 1 (The Rising Tide) came out a year and a half ago. Where have I been? I decided to save ’em for winter. Next I flipped through The Way Life Should Be. I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s set in Maine, which is cool (although wealthy, tourist-y Mount Desert Island isn’t the Maine I know)…but I wasn’t really in the mood for the whole “characters cooking Italian food” thing. At least, not while I’m trying to lose weight. I even debated a Star Wars visual dictionary (shut up.)

Nothing appealed to me. A large display of sherbert colored chick lit novels mocked me. Ha ha ha! We’re here taking up space that should be reserved for the kind of books you like… I wanted to kick them, but I didn’t. With my luck I’d damage one–or more–of the inane things and end up having to actually pay good money for them. God forbid.

My kids, on the other hand, took only 39.3 seconds to find the next 3 books in the Warrior Cats series they’ve been devouring for the past several months. I was jealous. They were anxious to leave. I grabbed a Coldplay CD (Excellent, by the way. The three of us listened to it on the way home. Six thumbs up.) and made a beeline for the register. My kids gave me The Eyes. I gave them my precious coupon. They professed undying love and affection for their generous mom. I grunted. We left.

About halfway home I realized what my problem was. I’d known, all along, what book I was in the mood for. And I’d known, all along, that I wouldn’t find it at Borders. So when I got home I turned on my computer and ordered The Book: Luke Davies’ God of Speed. None of the pinhead publishers in America have picked it up, so I had to order it from Australia. Well worth it, but still…I wish I could’ve grabbed it at Borders. You know…the coupon.

Speaking of novels that haven’t been picked up by pinhead American publishers (my segues are getting better all the time), Chapter 14 of Waiting for Spring is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Also posted is Chapter 26: Cole Street of Ginny Good. (Damn, I wish I’d titled my chapters.) Check ’em out. You’ll be glad you did.
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About R.J. Keller

R. J. Keller is the author of Waiting For Spring. An avid independent movie enthusiast, she was Managing Editor of The Movie Fanatic website and created episodes of the writer-centric YouTube series, Inside The Writers' Studio, with author Kristen Tsetsi. She co-hosted Book Chatter with Stacey Cochran from 2011-2014. She lives in Central Maine with her family, where she enjoys gardening, collecting geeky memorabilia, and watching other people cook. View all posts by R.J. Keller

11 responses to “Warning: Book Geek Alert

  • Jen O

    Gosh I hate chick lit. I just feel the IQ points melting away whenever I pass that (all too large) section.

    …of course this is coming from the 20-something who reads 99.9% young adult. (But that’s RESEARCH. For my epic YA dystopian spy series. Yep.)

    I picked up The Book Thief a couple of days ago! It’s in the “to be read” pile!

  • Elleann

    Excellent choice, and thumbs down to Borders for not having The Book You Needed Most! I think I need to order me a copy too …. thanks for the reminder, Kells!

  • R.J. Keller

    Jen…you will LOVE The Book Thief. Brilliant novel.

    Elle…let me know if/when you get G.O.S.

  • bunnygirl

    I’m with you on the commercial bookstore thing. And with the demise of locally-owned bookstores, it’s getting to where ordering online is often the only option.

    I’m glad to have found the Readers and Writers Blog through you. I’m dithering on whether to query my latest novel– a dystopian YA. It lacks vicious gossip, fashion worries, vampires and werewolves, so I suspect it would be a harder sell than I have time for. And the more I read about what a published writer has to do to stay in the game, the more I think I want to put off any serious querying until after retirement. That’s a good ways off, and in the meantime I’m always looking for new ways to get my characters out of my head and into other people’s so I can start the next story.

    I’ve got you on my blog reader now and am looking forward to future posts. Say more about Maine. I love your state…in the summer. 🙂

  • R.J. Keller

    I am SO glad you popped in here, Bunnygirl. You’re a new hero of mine since I read your comments at Mr. Nathan Bransford’s blog. In fact I’m planning a post here based on them.

    Funny you should mention vampires. It’s been a joke of mine that if I want to get my book published all I’ve got to do is turn one of my characters into a vampire. Actually, I had an agent tell me that if I Bridget Jones’ Diary-up my book a little bit then it would have a much better chance of selling. I’d rather let red hot ants gnaw at my brain. And it sounds like I’d like your book very much.

    I’m happy you found R&W Blog. Lots of great stuff to read, and I’d say that even if my novel wasn’t being serialized there. Sid Leavitt’s an awesome guy.

  • bunnygirl

    (Forgot to close a tag on first attempt at this comment. Grrr…)

    Here’s where I talked about this topic on one of my blogs, if you’re interested in cribbing a little for your own blog post.

    My situation is that I have a good job with a public university. I can retire in another 13.5 years with full state-guaranteed health benefits. I’m vested in a solid (as much as anything can be any more) retirement system that will give me a lifetime pension. Can writing give me this kind of security? Not likely.

    I write every day without fail, but winning my lifetime safety net has to take priority. Longevity runs in my family and I’ll have a whole ‘nother lifetime, post-retirement, in which to promote my writing with the kind of aggression that’s required for success.

  • Sid Leavitt

    Nice segue at the end (you really are getting quite good at it). Thanks.

  • Helen Ginger

    It is frustrating to go into a bookstore and see thousands of books and not find one you want to buy. Or to know that you’re caught up on all the books by your favorite authors.

    And worse yet — you have that coupon in hand. At least you were able to use yours for kids’ books. I hate it when I let one expire without finding something to use it on.

  • Stewart Sternberg

    I wish I knew where there was an independent bookstore within fifty miles of me. Maybe one…in Downtown Detroit.

    As for choice..I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and found myself picking up almost a hundred dollars of non fiction. Sometimes we just need to take a break from the made up stuff and focus on things grounded in real life.

  • R.J. Keller

    Very true, and I did come close to buying Benazir Bhutto’s “Reconcilliation.” I do much better with non-fiction during cold weather for some reason, so I put it on my ‘save’ list.

    Thanks for stopping in, by the way! I’m a big fan of your blog.

  • Crystal Lynn

    I’ve got to go 20 miles in 3 directions to find a new book store. Locally we have a used store that opened. Frankly I like them a whole lot better. I scarfed on a whole load of Civil War books (just came in from some estate….lucky me!!), a bunch of old novels, and an LLBean cookbook. My favorite day in town is our annual town libary used book sale… any hardback for a $1. Boy have I lucked out there!!! I shall miss it this year…as I shall be in New Market VA for the weekend. I will not be pouting…

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