Shelver’s Confessions

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This last Saturday, I dissected a list of confessions from a group of anonymous Borders employees in honor of the closing of Borders one year ago. I thought it would only be fair if I then turned the tables and gave a few confessions of my own.

Now I’ve given quite a few confessions on this blog (you can find them by looking for tags “work,” “Shelver Secret” or “customer”), so I’m going to be a bit more transparent with my list. Mine is more like… confessions of an English major/bookshelver/book lover. More transparent, more inclusive. I fully expect shock and/or outrage in response to a couple. Enjoy.

Click to enlarge. Please pardon my handwriting.

1. The first time I read Twilight, I liked it. No, more than that, I was just a wee bit obsessed. I’d borrowed the entire series from a friend and brought them to college to read. My roommate went out of town for the weekend, and I read the entire series in one weekend. They just sucked me in. I’m sure I looked a bit zombified by the time my roommate returned. Thankfully, the last book snapped me out of my stupor (ugh), and my patient roommate gently taunted me back to my senses. Now I sneer slightly every time I pass the books. (But NEVER at the customers who read them, I promise.)

2. I read incredibly fast, but I almost never read more than one book at a time. I know people who can bounce from book to book, and it just baffles me. Except in dire time constraints (“Aaaah, I really like this book, but I HAVE to read this other one for a deadline!”), I like to devote my full attention to one story at a time. Being focused helps a lot when it comes to writing reviews.

3. I detest Shakespeare. And I’m an English major! I’m sure the man himself was loads of fun, but I CANNOT STAND his plays. Sure, he was revolutionary, blah blah blah, but anything that requires that many footnotes to read just isn’t worth my time. … And I can feel English majors, book lovers, and literary critics everywhere clutching their pearls in horror. Moving on.

4. I don’t use “real” bookmarks. I just lose them! They’re never handy when I need them. For the longest time, I used to dogear my pages, but my mother broke me of that habit. Now I usually tear strips off of whatever random piece of scrap paper happens to be lying nearby. Tada! Insta-bookmark that I don’t have to be afraid to lose.

5. Most of us at the store don’t drink the coffee from our cafe; instead, we hide our Starbucks cups behind the registers. Don’t get me wrong, our coffee is yummy, but it’s almost as expensive at Starbucks. If I’m going to pay $3+ for my mocha frap, you better believe I’m going for the cup with the brand prestige. (However, when the guy at the cafe puts out free samples, we’re all over that tray.)

6. I have never read one line of Harry Potter. Not one. I have never read the books, I have never seen the movies. I feel like a social leper and a failure as a bookshelver just writing those words, but it’s true. I can’t tell you the number of times a parent has asked for a book recommendation for a son or daughter and said, “Well, he liked Harry Potter” and I’ve had to scramble for something I thought might be similar. And every time a blogger writes, “If you liked Harry Potter, you’ll love ____,” I go “Yeeeah…”

7. The amount that I hate a book is directly proportional to the amount of shelf space said book sucks up. Seriously. I’ve never read one line of Bloodlines by Richelle Mead or Slammed by Colleen Hoover, but I DETEST those books. Corporate sends us 10+ copies at a time, which means the entire shelf has to be reorganized every week to make the new books fit.

8. I don’t watch book trailers. I don’t like them. They do nothing for me.

9. My bookshelf is organized by “feel.” The non-fiction has its own section and is sensibly separated into reference, social science, literary criticism, etc. But my fiction? YA has its own section, but the rest is totally by feel. Austen-y books are together, scary books, Christian fiction, mysteries, etc. Then, of course, the books are arranged within each category by author’s last name. Maybe it’s not a conventional system, but I like it.

10. I liked The Lord of the Rings movie better than the book. There! I said it. The book is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but the movie cut out some of the slow parts, gave the female characters more proactive roles, and had a score written by Howard Shore. You don’t argue with Howard Shore.

So they’re a little less than earth-shattering, but I had to get them off my chest. Especially the one about Harry Potter. Yikes. What would YOU like to confess?

15 Responses to Shelver’s Confessions

  1. Kris-10 October 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I love your Shelver’s Confessions! And I’m right there with you for Bookfession #1; it’s a little embarassing now that I have broadened my reading horizons, but what’s a girl to do? I, too, read really, really fast but I happen to be one of those people who read two or three books at once. :3 Now, about this Harry Potter thing. I know you probably get this a lot, but you *need* to watch the movies (I actually haven’t read the series except for the first one) because they’re amazing! I completely understand you organizing your bookshelf my “feel” – I do the exact same thing! :))

    • Shelver 506 October 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      Thanks! And yeah, I know about Harry Potter. I refused to read/watch when it was super-big because I won’t jump into the middle of a trend. Now I just can’t afford to get sucked in. Someday…

  2. GillyB October 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    I confess… I liked Twilight A LOT when I first read it. Then, when it got all popular with the tween set, I totally backtracked and played it all hipster cool and dismissive. And the last book cured my insanity. I don’t hate Shakespeare, but I hate Joyce. I have never retained a bookmark for longer than a week. I find book trailers pointless and misleading. And the fact that you’ve never read Harry Potter is a CRIME! But we’ll forgive you.

    • Shelver 506 October 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      I thought about including Joyce in the confessions, but I’m actually pretty pleased with myself that I’ve never read anything of his (other than the Dubliners for a class).

      Haha, and I’m glad you’re so merciful, Harry Potter-wise. I feel the same way every time someone tells me they’ve never seen Star Wars.

  3. Brandy October 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Re #1 & #6: You can not go through life having read Twilight and not Harry Potter. You need to fix this. It took me a long time to get around to reading HP, the first six books were all published before I read the first but then I was mad for having missed out on them so long. (Also you do need to read the books and not just watch the movies. The movies don’t do the characters and their relationships justice.)

    3. Shakespeare is meant to be watched not read. I admit I enjoy reading the plays but I LOVE watching them performed.

    10. ME TOO!!!! My husband rereads all the books every year and I could gladly die without ever reading them again ever. I do love the movies though.

    • GillyB October 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Re Harry Potter movies: AGREED. The movies are not nearly as good as the movies. They don’t delve as deep, or flesh out the world enough. They’re great, but seriously, read the books first. They are truly wonderful. Which is understatement, since I’m a proud member of the Harry Potter generation. The first book came out when I was six, the last when I was sixteen, and I read most of them the week (or sometimes day!) they came out.

      And yes. LOTR movies are totally better than the books. They cut out all the things you don’t need!

    • Shelver 506 October 5, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Oh, don’t worry. Whenever (if ever) I get around to Harry Potter, I’ll definitely read the books first. That’s just proper.

      Re: Shakespeare, that’s what my college roommate used to tell me. I always thought it funny that the math nerd was pushing the English nerd toward Shakespeare. I did like the movie Much Ado About Nothing. However, I will never, under ANY circumstance, touch Romeo and Juliet. Ever.

      Re: LOTR, I need to reread the books again. The prose is gorgeous, and I love the way the wording worms into my head, but the Barrow-wights? Treebeard’s incessant rambling? Not a fan.

  4. erlessard October 6, 2012 at 5:24 am #

    I love the shelvers confessions too. I might “steal” this idea for my blog tomorrow.

    • Shelver 506 October 6, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Haha, alright. Just send me a link, because I’d love to read it.

  5. Ellie October 6, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Oooh, confessions! Okay, I for one totally loved Twilight (though I haven’t reread the series since to find out if I STILL love it) and actually liked Breaking Dawn BEST because Bella got to be all supermum instead of falling over her own feet all the time. Yeah, the end was an anticlimax, but I didn’t mind that much. The post-Twilight backlash makes me all antsy and only seems to make me defend it MORE.

    Dude, read Harry Potter already. Just start with the first book, it’s a dead quick read, very funny… If people ask me for books for a post-Harry Potter kid my usual fail-safe recommendation is Michael Scott’s Nicholas Flamel series. Kids recognise the name from the first HP book, but get a whole new adventure series with loads of magic and characters from history and legend to get excited about.

    I’m not a huge fan of book trailers either, because too often it looks like some teenager trying to recreate the book in their back garden. My favourite so far was one for Lauren Kate’s Fallen series that featured a topless, muscular young man… with a pair of fairy wings strapped to his back. They were so little and fluffy, hehe, it’s making me smile just thinking about it! Less ‘fallen from heaven to walk the earth forever blah blah etc’, more ‘fallen off a rather unimaginative Pride float’…

    Also, NEVER MESS WITH HOWARD SHORE. Not ever never. That is all.

    • Shelver 506 October 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      I try not to bash if I can help it. That is, I may be a little sneery about the books, but never about the people that like it. I expect people not to be rude when I tell them how much I love MG and YA books (instead of “grown-up books”), so it only seems fair.

      Someday. I’m very stubborn, so I’ll probably read it when no one expects me to and then just not tell anyone until I feel like it. Just to mess with people.

      HA! That’s hilarious. And yes, I agree completely. Most book trailers (of the very few that I’ve seen) just take the back blurb, make the words pop off images from the cover, and add some music.

      Also, I think I need to go listen to the Mordor theme again.

  6. Renee October 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Can you really DETEST Shakespeare? He contributed so much to the language! I don’t enjoy reading his works, but I try to appreciate them anyway.

    And I’m sure you’ve already gotten replies of anger/shock/disgust/disbelief, but I’ll go ahead and say– at least read the first Harry Potter! If you’re a reader in this day and age and you haven’t, it’s like you’re missing out on an enormous chunk of literary culture. Especially if you’re 25 or younger, in which case it’s almost indefensible. If you’re older than 25, I guess I can understand, you weren’t in the thick of the phenomenon . . . BUT STILL!

    • Shelver 506 October 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Nah, I was in the thick of it, which is exactly why I didn’t read them. I don’t like to jump into trends. I’m very stubborn, I’m afraid.

  7. Jenn October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    I really loved Twilight when I first read it too, but Kristen Stewart killed it for me. Squished it dead. I couldn’t even watch the 3rd and 4th movies. I still have the books and am tempted to reread them to see if I still like them, but I don’t know.

    And, yes, Harry Potter. That is all. 🙂

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