Couple of days ago two corporate type yuppies walking out of the store after spending about three and a half minutes in the store happened to say the most beautiful thing, blah, blah, blah…you do not want to get into “reading” as books can make you go crazy.
Conventional wisdom would probably disagree with the yuppies. My colleague and myself silently smiled (a little crazily?) in agreement.
If you go by cliches then the perfect one would be ignorance is bliss, well it kind of is actually but not really. Say you go about living your meaningfull life, going to college, going to work, being a “good” citizen (whatever the hell that is supposed to be), buying shit that you donot really need, consuming, consuming popular culture, fitting in, reading a little perhaps (The newspaper is a means of pushing consumerism as well) But what about reading for pleasure? I do not have any figures for this but we can say that ones that do are well a little crazy. Why? Take a good look at the customers for the first five seconds and you can say who is going to buy, who is going to buy big, who is going to browse and who is coming for retail therapy (be it monologues to helpless booksellers or mental masturbation out loud to fan the ego)
The ones that are the weak in the store (weak in the presence of books) most certainly are the crazy ones. Crazy in the sense of an obsession, kind of insatiable. Crazy as in most of the heavy readers that we interact with are just everyday joes but think a little differently. Crazy in the sense that they occasionally pick up a book and smell it and perhaps smile after taking a whiff. Crazy by not imposing on what their little kid is picking up. Crazy by coming repeatedly to the store for months without buying a single thing and then walking in one find day and splurging like there is no tomorrow (we actually had a customer walk in once and give me her wallet and said “TAKE ALL MY MONEY, PLEASE, NOW before I change my mind). Crazy with dark eye circles from late night binge reading on school nights. Crazy in the sense of having bought more books than they can ever possibly read, yet are weak in a store and buy more. Crazy by strongly recommending the last book that they have read, believing truly that this is the book everybody has to read. Crazy by not wanting to waste time just walking around the house (unless the walking includes your nose stuck in a book). Crazy despite having a library at work and a membership at their local library and still consider an unlimited reading plan at a third library. Crazy by having a current “reading” list of over five books and still starting on new books. Crazy by being unfaithful to the book being currently read by having others in bed at the same time.
So in a word, do books make you go crazy?
YES! (blissfully crazy thank you very much)
Do stop by your local independent book store and go a little mad, thank us for our insane advise if you are ever at our store.