What is this about?: Exactly what is says on the cover: tales from a bookseller about the awful, wonderful and inexplicable requests and customers and their kids that author Elias Grieg had to deal with.
What else is this about?: It’s a reminder of the good and the bad and funny of people when it comes to books.
Hilarious, unpredictable and, at times, touching, this compilation is the perfect gift for fans of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and The Diary of a Bookseller.
As any retail or service worker will tell you, customers can be irrational, demanding, abusive, and brain-scramblingly, mind-bendingly strange. They can also be kind, thoughtful, funny, and full of pathos. Something about the often-fraught interaction between customer and worker, with the dividing line of the counter between them, loosens inhibitions, and has a kind of hot-house effect on eccentricity.
In I Can’t Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue, veteran bookseller Elias Greig collects the best, worst and downright weirdest customer encounters from his years working as a Sydney bookseller. From ill-behaved children to nostalgic seniors and everything in between, this hilarious and unpredictable book is the perfect gift for anyone who’s ever been on the wrong side of a counter.
Once upon a time, a long time ago before reality and life happened I harboured a dream of owning a bookstore. There could be nothing more satisfying than being surrounded by shelves of books and being able to read them, I thought, neatly forgetting about all the hard work that comes with the job.
And the customers. And that’s what I Can’t Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue is all about.
It is a collection of short anecdotes of life behind the counter and the customers Elias and his fellow booksellers had to deal with: like the mum and her kids who touched everything with sticky fingers, or the woman who came in from yoga just to look at books, because you know she likes just looking. There’s the man who came in to read a book, while eating an apple and then got huffy when he thought Elias was stalking him because he thought the guy was going to steal something, forgetting entirely about the fact that he’s been given the chance to read a new book, and he should maybe make sure his hands are not stained with apple juice.
And most of all, and most dear to my heart are the customers who want to know why on earth the new Harry Potter book is a script of a play. Yeah, we all feel that one!
This is a book that will make you smile, giggle and then send you off to your closest bookstore to appreciate the people behind the counter.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting an interview with the author, Elias Greig about the inspiration for this book, how booksellers are not human search engines and the only thing better than a bookstore …. so see you then!