While in college, I worked at Barnes and Noble for about 5 months. Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable experience and great preperation for my work in the library (although lending people books is a lot more fun than selling people books). This was also about the time I began to get a bad taste in my mouth about bestsellers. This makes me sound like a book snob, which if you know me at all, you know is entirely untrue. I read 20 mass market paperback romances a month and I always check out the bestsellers as I walk into a bookstore. What I'm talking about are the SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLERS!! The ones that EVERYONE (the all caps signifies a slight exaggeration) reads.
I think most people would assume that if EVERYONE is reading a certain title, it must have some redeeming qualities. And it very likely does. I'm not boycotting these books because they are poorly written (although some of them are i.e. Twilight...which I read after months of whining on LE's part). I skip them because bookstore customers and library patrons can be quite annoying ). Let me explain...
I worked at Barnes and Noble during the height of The DaVinci Code's and The Purpose Driven Life's popularity. At least 60% (that percentage is completely made up...but trust me it was a lot) of customer questions involved these two titles. Most enfuriating to me was the fact that I had to help people find these books. Apparently, despite their 2 year presence on the bestsellers list, we as booksellers decided we'd shelve them in the most obscure hidey hole in the store. You know the place. The bestseller shelves located directly in front of the store. Otherwise known as the shelves you walked right by in order to bother me at the Information Desk.
These books became the bane of my existance. I became very adept at fielding ridiculous questions like "Who wrote Mein Kampf?" or "I'm looking for a book. (duh.) I don't know the title or the author, but the cover is red. Can you help me?", but it was this one that really solidified my hatred for SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLERS, "Do you have this book I'm looking for? It's called, like, the Code of Da Vinci? Or something like that?" Really. That happened. I laughed because I thought he was joking. Nope. Not a joke. Luckily, I knew just where to find it.
So, what inspired this rant? (For the record, I'm not the only person who feels this way. During a library class, our professor asked all of us to name a book we'd never read and everyone named a SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLER...I think we just get sick of hearing about them all the time). Well, over the weekend I read a SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLER. I saw a movie trailer for THE HELP and I was intrigued. I've heard really good things about it, but was also feeling a little prejudicial due to my feelings for SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLERS. However, this weekend my uncle left THE HELP in the guest bedroom for me and I finally read the book everyone's been talking about. Excuse me, EVERYONE. And...it was wonderful (although most of my inner thoughts are now being said with a deep Southern accent). Read it. It's a SUPER CRAZY BESTSELLER for a reason.