Tag Archives: Barnes and Noble

My Recent Bookish Quandaries

28 Mar

As the life of a bibliophile progresses, there’s bound to be a few stumbling blocks. I’ve had two recently that I’ll share with you, Reader. Maybe you can sympathize. Or maybe you’ll laugh at me. Either way, you can leave a comment (hint).

My first one was trying to find a gift for my father-in-law. My husband’s family are faint decedents of John Brown, an American abolitionist. When I heard that the winner of the National Book Award was about a young slave boy traveling around with Brown, I knew I wanted to get it for my father-in-law’s birthday. My problem is that I couldn’t remember the title… or the author.

I was that person that ever Barnes & Noble employee hates. I walked up to the customer service desk and said what I’m sure their least favorite words are: “I don’t remember the title but…”

Lucky for him, my ‘but’ wasn’t the color of the cover or what happened in it. I said, “…but it won the National Book Award and has the word ‘bird’ in the title.” <Insert funny look from employee here.> His internal groan became a shrug and he asked me if it was Alice Munro. “No,” I said. “She won the Nobel Prize for literature.” I like to think I re-gained his respect here. He was able to Google the 2013 National Book Award and found James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird on the Award Winner’s shelf. (If this just had a bigger sign, we wouldn’t have had this problem in the first place.) Quandary #1 solved.

My second quandary is something I discovered on Wednesday and I know many of my other bibliophiles have this same issue. Library holds ALWAYS come in all at once!



Here’s my hold list. I checked out Cabin Pressure because I saw that The Cuckoo’s Calling by ‘Robert Galbraith’ wasn’t due until 5-April. I needed an audiobook in the meantime. I’ve been waiting for this one since October so you could say I’m a little excited to get it. BUT THEN the library noticed how long the hold list is for And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and finally ordered a second copy of it, moving me very quickly from third to first on the hold list. This was quite unanticipated. I’ll get the copy as soon as it’s ordered, which could be any day now.

So I’m in the early middle of Cabin Pressure and I’m feeling some library pressure to put it aside for these holds because of the waiting lists. I know this isn’t a real problem, like hunger and oppression are real problems, but my OCD bookish side is freaking out.

Reader, have you ever had this problem? Or have you ever been on either end of the “I don’t remember the title but…” question? Leave me a comment and let me know! I can’t be alone in this world!

Until next time, write on!


Meeting Mitch Albom

2 Dec

I’ve developed this obsession with getting autographed books. It might be better defined as I love meeting published authors, but when I meet them I have to buy their book and have them sign it. So yeah, slight obsession.

Nicole and I went to meet Mitch Albom at a local Barnes and Noble last Tuesday. I found the event on Goodreads and I was more than a little excited about it. If you’re unfamiliar, Mitch Albom is from Detroit and write for the Detroit Free Press. He’s the author of bestsellers such as Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, and the most recent The First Phone Call From Heaven. This last one is the reason for his current book tour. It will debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list this week (or so he says).

We got to the event and purchased our copies at which point we were assigned to Group C. Mitch gave a few opening comments when he arrived and I was really impressed by him. He’s home for Thanksgiving so is doing some signings in the area which I thought was very sweet. His nephews were somewhere in the store, though I didn’t meet them. He spoke about the book and how his mother influenced him. She suffered a stroke that left her unable to talk and Mitch wanted to write about the power of hearing a person’s voice which brought about the idea of those who have passed away calling back to Earth. Let’s say I’m more than excited to read this.

My excited face when I met Mitch Albom. Please notice the security detail hiding his face.

My excited face when I met Mitch Albom. Please notice the security detail hiding his face.

We milled around for an hour and a half (I only bought two more books!) before we were called and we got in line. At that point we only waited about a half hour before we got to meet Mitch Albom! We were both nervous balls of energy, but he had such a calming personality that we weren’t intimidated at all.

I took the time to ask him the question I’ve decided I’ll ask all authors. “I want to be where you are. What can I do to get there?” Mitch took the time to give me a really good answer. After saying I wanted to be where he is, he offered to get up and let me take a seat but I argued my signature was not as sought after. He asked me where I was in life and I told him I worked full-time and have now finished two manuscripts. I loved his answer; He told me to read.

Please note security detail again.

Nicole’s excited face. Please note security detail again.

He said to read things I didn’t like, things I didn’t write about people I didn’t like. When we write, we need to create characters and those characters might be people we don’t like. When you read something outside of your comfort zone, you learn a new voice and that’s a voice you can use in a character that is distinctly different from yourself. I spoke in my post last Tuesday about how my first draft characters are always a lot like me. This advice seemed really timely. When I spoke to my husband upon arriving at home, he agreed that he sees too much of me in my female characters. I’ve done alright with the male characters, but reading books about women different from myself will help me be able to write distinct feminine voices.

I really appreciated the time Mitch took to answer my question when 200 other people wanted a minute of his time. A huge thanks to the people at Barnes and Noble who made the event run smoothly. I hope that one day I can take that seat from Mitch and be able to proudly sit there, knowing I’ve accomplished my dream.

Until next time, write on.