It never occurred to me that there could be a viper in my department. Then: the truth. Lynn stopped by my office and said, "75."
She held up a mass market copy of Broken by Kelley Armstrong and said, "This is book number 75 for me." So, Lynn has read 75 books so far this year. That is 30 more than me and probably 20 more than Adrienne. The curse of bookstore employees everywhere ? too many books, too little time ? doesn't seem to affect her. Lynn started working part-time with us in December. For months she kept quiet about her reading habit, or maybe I just refused to see the truth. Really, I have only myself to blame ? I hired her after all.
I was hesitant to tell Adrienne that she was being out-read. When I finally told her, she said, "Has she written them down? It's not legal if they are not written down." Curses! Lynn has been keeping a written record. I toyed with the idea of telling Lynn that you're not eligible to play in your first year of employment, but I've made peace with it ? I will be a distant, lonely third place this year. My consolation is that I'll have read a ton of good books. And I'll be in good company; everyone in the department loves to read and no one can read as fast as Lynn.
If you could see the Contact Center, the first thing you'd notice is the pile of books on everyone's desk. That is the "to be read" pile. You try spending eight hours a day talking to customers about books and see how many titles you've jotted down ? it's an occupational hazard! Just today a customer emailed us, asking if we could remember the name of the really funny archeology spoof where a future archeologist uncovers a motel, ala Howard Carter and Tut's tomb. That was an easy one for me because I remember loving the book: The Motel of Mysteries by David Macaulay. But now, I have to add it to my Wishlist because I want to read it again ? it's been 20 years!
I remember the first book that Carla recommended: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It had just come out about the time I started working at Powell's, and Carla reads tons of young adult novels. (She is a Powell's institution, mind you; she has been answering the phone here for over 20 years. You want to know the true voice of Powell's ? it's her.) I remember the first book Adrienne recommended, too: Wild Swans. But, I can't begin to list all the wonderful books that my coworkers have suggested. As I said, occupational hazard. Yet, it beats working in a doughnut shop... at least the books aren't adding pounds.