July 30
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.


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FEBRUARY 1, 2013 10:29AM

First Dates In a Bookstore

Rate: 32 Flag

He's young and good looking.  College age. With long, slightly sloppy hair that says he's not making the rounds of job interviews yet. A typical student. Except that he carries cash in addition to his debit card and he has never once answered or made a phone call while in the store. Not so typical in those respects.

He comes in alone every week or so. Almost always in the late afternoon, probably after a class, on his way home to one of the apartment complexes nearby. 

He's the type of customer I love to see. A browser. Never looking for a specific book, but wandering through the entire store and buying whatever tickles his fancy that day. Seldom leaving with less than six or seven books. Rarely needing a bag because he carries a backpack.

I know his likes, but not his name.

"One of each again," I usually say as he checks out. His stacks remind me of a kid in a candy store. One mystery, one classic, one sci-fi, one history, one philosophy, one comic. Often from the dollar racks.

Yesterday his stack was bigger because he didn't come alone. He brought a girl. An English major who he has a class with.

He introduces her and tells me that she likes O Henry and Terry Pratchett.

As she looks through fiction at the far end of the room, he looks through classics behind my desk.

"I told her about your store," he says quietly. "That's how I got the courage to talk to her."

She overhears and I see her smile.

The combined stack that they build on my desk grows to a total of twenty-two books. All different genres. Only seven are dollar books. I see him check his wallet and work in a volume discount. He has a few bills left but won't need them. 

"I'll pay for dinner" she says.

They leave in separate cars. But with their books in a single bag, to be divided later.


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The story is absolutely charming. Good on him for asking her. Good on her for accepting. Good on you for running a place where a shy guy can, with confidence, take a literary gal.

So now that your store will gain a reputation as a "date spot," do you have a fairly secluded section where couples can make out?
Loved the story. I have a problem- I rarely read a book that people recommend -especially husband. Whatever he reads, I would not like. However, I love it when he buys books just for me. It sounds like this relationship might be off to a good start. I like that he wasn't pushing his books on her.
Respecting each others tastes and yet maintaining their own. Get to know someone through books. Never worked for me tho. I was so sad to realize they didn't really share my interests and were just pretending while they gobbled up Westerns or Mysteries.
Stim--The self-help section is fairly secluded and rarely entered into.

toritto--I always told my girls to go for the ones that seem a little nerdy.

snarky--I have a problem recommending books. I always ask them to tell me one they liked first.

zanelle--Maybe the secret is dipping your toe into those mysteries.
Delightful. Sweet, actually.
this is sweeter than powder-sugared fruit pizza
yes. a slow shot of amaretto on chapped lips
for sure: the world will always welcome booklovers
They will be divorced in 10 years and she will get the house...
I hope they both realize you can't judge a book by its cover. R
J ~ wonderful story and stands in great contrast to say, "hanging out at the mall on a Sat. night."

@Leepin Larry ~ the house won't matter to him at all...he'll have the books!
Con--I think this might have been automatic writing.

Jeanette--That makes me think I captured it because it was sweet.

Matt--Thank you. From a self described curmudgeon, that's a high compliment.

J.P.--Powder-sugared fruit pizza? You're making me hungry for Pizza Hut.

Leepin--You mean I should have sent them to the fantasy section?

Gerald--Good advice from a man who's celebrating 41 years. I'll pass it on.

designator--I don't know. I think there are some stories to be found in some of those mall walkers. With an age requirement of over 70 though.
Big smile on this girl over here!
Really enjoyed this...love of books, love of love...
What a delightfully romantic, utterly charming story! And it's not even Valentine's Day. I wish bookstores were as popular as bars & restaurants for taking a date - then maybe so many wouldn't be closing.
[r] Awwwwww.

But then I am also haunted by was it When Harry Met Sally when Harry tells his engaged friends to put their names in their books NOW because will come the day they will be fighting over ownership when they separate.

I love bookstore browsing. Bookstores with dollar books to boot. I'd never leave. :-)

best, libby
This affected my day for the better. A definite and much needed pick me up. "Charming" is an appropriate descriptor.
I only once took a date to a bookstore. Unfortunately I got so engrossed by some new SciFi books that had come in, I forgot I'd brought her with me, bought my books and left. I didn't remember about her until I was 3 blocks down the street.

I don't need to tell you how impressed she was with me.......


awww! some of my most favorite dates, back when I used to fool with them, were to bookstores. Could browse those things forever, just getting lost in the possibilities of alternate dimensions.

You write so well on slice-of-life issues. Very observant, indeed.

Beautiful, romantic piece. It reassures me that it's not too crazy to continue to hope that I'll find Mr. Right in a bookstore, hunkered over an Evelyn Waugh.

You are such a wonderful observer of life!
This was so sweet! I teared up at how he told you that talking about your store gave him the courage to ask this girl out! Best of luck to this adorable bibliophile couple!
Jamie--Always glad to bring a smile.

Rob--I also see a lot of lonely people, so this was a nice change.

Margaret--Damn. I should have saved it for Valentine's Day.

libby--I can see you getting comfortable in a bookstore.

Christopher--Thanks for reading. Your comment was a pick me up for me.

Sky--That hilarious. And I can see it. You sci-fi readers do sometimes have a one track mind.

theig--As Margaret says, better than a bar.

Lyle--Thank you. You see a lot of slices in retail.

Migs--Evelyn Waugh would pretty much guarantee a good start.

Alysa--I think they're off on the right foot.
Charming and sweet. ~r
Damn, this was cute.
Her overhearing him was the best part.
I'm sorry for screwing up your ratio, though I'm adding to your comment count:

You will, as of this comment, have 27 comments and 25 rates. I don't think I've ever seen a ratio like that on a count that wasn't, you know, 3. (Yeah, I know, numerically impossible, but I assume you get the point.)
Loved the details you picked to show us.
When we met my husband and I read different authors, after 34 years we still do but have found ones we share. If I had not met him would I have ever found Nevil Shute ?
Joan--Thank you.

Kosher--Thanks for stopping by. You can mess with my ratios anytime.

maria--They were kind of handed to me.

LSD--I have a bunch of old Nevil Shute books at the store. I've never read him. I'll try one tomorrow.
"LSD"? Well, those are interesting initials.
Aww. Awwwwwww. Damnit I miss backpack-laden, bookstore-crawling, too-embarrassed-to-ask-out-cute-girl student days.
Love this so much. It makes me happy on so many levels. Thank you. R
What a lovely story. Like being in the eaves.
in my own writing, i often struggle with the effective price point between detail and succinctness. it gives me tremendous appreciation for writers that manage to accomplish this. Such as you, here.
A lovely story. Daniel and I met in a bookstore (after the internet meeting).
DO NOT READ "ON THE BEACH", it is Shute's best known work, but far from the best. I have read most, my favorite is "Trustee From the Toolroom"...odd title, wonderful story. "In the Wet" and "Round the Bend" are, well...they are all good (except OTB).

I swear when I chose my name for here, I did not realize it would be shortened to LSD...but I do not care, it is funny.