Missing Morty

Morty (Short for Mordecai, or so I’m told) was the cat who inhabited the bookstore where I work. He lived there for about 10 years, and he was my favorite coworker. He, like many cats, liked boxes – and working in a bookstore, he never had any shortage of boxes to crawl into. I loved opening up a DVD box and finding only half a box of DVDs and the rest filled with a very fat black and white cat.

Morty was also my lunch buddy, as he had a penchant for people food. Especially turkey. Since the break room is always freezing cold, he didn’t usually turn down a warm lap to snuggle in or next to either. Since I tend to take little cat naps on my break at work, he was a nap buddy too.

Sadly, Morty got very very sick last May, and though I and another coworker nursed him pretty much constantly through it, eventually they discovered he had inoperable cancer. As much as I am glad I was able to be there to help care for him, I wish they had found the cancer sooner, as I really think he was in a lot of pain.

This week, I think because it’s the holidays and getting chilly outside, I’ve been missing Morty. I still think I see him around the store sometimes, usually when I glance over and mistake a black sweater or hat for a snoozing cat in my peripheral vision. I ate the last of the turkey soup at work (made from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass), and I couldn’t shake the feeling of wishing he was there begging for a taste. Last year he actually got up on my little tray table and licked at my soup bowl when I wasn’t paying attention (he also stole cheese).

Still, I’m glad I got to “work with” Morty – he was a big source of comfort during the holidays last year, when I was pretty unstable and work was beyond challenging. He was a good cat, and I miss him, but I am glad I got the chance to miss him, if that makes any sense at all.

*For those curious, the store is not getting another cat. Morty was grandfathered into the rules, which now do not allow for store pets of any kind.

Bookstore Bingo

*crossposted from Seven Deadly Divas*

The phone rings. I answer it (within the first two rings, of course).

“Hello, this is <Bookstore Name> in <Location>, Anna speaking, how may I help you?”

*****

“Hi, do you sell books?”
No, the whole “Bookstore” part of our name is a joke, we really sell sticky widgets.

*****

“Hi, do you have a book?”
Nope, we’re fresh out.

*****

“Hi, I’m looking for frerkhtngrmwth.”
“Could you repeat that? I didn’t hear you clearly.”
“I’m looking for frerkhtngrmwth, by Thrrlblwrt K Hamthripth. You know, her new book.”
“Um… let me put you on hold just a moment and I’ll check.”
<checks new releases section for books with titles that sound like frerkhtngrmwth.>
“I’m sorry ma’am, I don’t seem to have any copies of frerkhtngrmwth right now.”
“Oh alright. I’ll try online.”

*****

“Hi, I was wondering if you had <Obscure Book Title>”
“Give me just a moment and I’ll check the shelf.”
<checks shelf>
“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t have a copy of Obscure Book Title right now.”
“Why not?”
“Well, we’re a used bookstore, so our inventory is really unpredictable.”
“But I checked your online inventory and it says you have it.”
“…. We actually don’t have an in-store or online inventory. Are you sure?”
“Well, I looked it up on Amazon Dot Com, and it says you have the book!”

*****

“Hi, I’m looking fer books on Yew-Bun-Tew Lye-Nucks. It’s a computerin’ book.”
“Just a moment and I’ll check the shelf for you. … I’m sorry, right now all we have are Red Hat books and some generic Linux books.”
“Naw, I don’t need them Red Hat things. I need a Yew-Bun-Tew book. Thankya though.”
<I actually had an extended conversation with this gentleman, and he knew exactly what he was talking about. But I had to try REALLY hard not to giggle.>

*****

“Hi, I need a copy of Sandy Backerack for my kid.”
“uhh… do you know what kind of book it is?”
“He says it’s a play.”
“Well, I can’t find a record of any book with that title, are you sure that’s it?”
“Yeah, that’s what he said.”
“You’re sure it’s not Pygmalion? That book is on a lot of reading lists right now.”
“Yes I’m sure. It’s called Sandy Backerack and it’s about a guy with a really big nose.”
“You mean Cyrano de Bergerac?”
“Yeah, that one.”

*****

… to be continued …

How many bookmarks do YOU need?

Working at a bookstore, I run into a lot of books that I want to read. In fact, my “to read” list has gotten longer, and longer, and longer the more I’ve worked there. We’re allowed to keep a stash shelf in the store of things we intend to either read and return (we can check books out for 30 days) or purchase in one chunk later on.

Needless to say, it’s taken a bit of willpower not to pour my paycheck back into the store, even with the snazzy employee discount I get. Especially since I tend to be in the middle of a bunch of books all at once.

On my list right now:

  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (need to actually finish this) – Scott Lynch
  • Blood Sucking Fiends – Christopher Moore
  • The Spellman Files – Lisa Lutz
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are – John Kabat-Zinn
  • The Universe in a Single Atom – His Holiness the Dalai Lama
  • Diet for a Dead Planet – Christopher D Cook
  • The Diet Myth – Paul Campos
  • The Courage to Start and No Need for Speed – John “The Penguin” Bingham

As some of you might know, though, I’ve had some troubles for the last 6 months (has it really been that long? :/ ), so my attention span is a fickle beast that I’m frequently frustrated with. Which basically boils down to my having trouble actually finishing books, or not being able to read them front to back in any reasonable time.

That’s not so much a problem with the non-fiction books, since I can usually go chapter to chapter with them, and bounce between a few.

But with fiction? I’ve read the beginning of Lies of Locke Lamora at least three times now, because I get into it, get excited, have to put the book down… have a few bad days, and just don’t pick it up again after.

I’ve always been a serious reader who didn’t shy away from tome-sized novels. But now I’m finding that it might be time to focus on short stories for awhile, and get back to the tomes later. (You’ll notice that both the other novels on that list are lighter and more humorous reading. That’s intentional as well.)

Either way though, I’m pretty excited about my current list of things to read. I’ll post updates if any of them become favorites, and hopefully in a month or so have another list of things that are on the bookshelf.

Until then, though, you might consider stock in bookmarks. I tend to use lots of them.