Post by Amicus Brevis Post by Dorothy J Heydt Post by Kevrob
The head of the English department asked me, "Do you read any crap?"
And I said, no, in that insufferable high school manner, no doubt.
And he said, "You need to read more crap."
The point was to read more for entertainment and for fun. -
Cool. I had a high-school English teacher who was *convinced*
that SF was crap. He wanted me to read Willa Cather and Ralph
I had my revenge, though: he gave the annual literary prize to a
work of fantasy which had been plagiarized from one of the
lower-grade f/sf magazines, _Fantastic_ or _Amazing_ or one of
those. And I had a copy of the original, which I gave to him. I
did not press the point that the story he'd chosen was *not very
Dorothy J. Heydt
djheydt at gmail dot com
LOL! Good for you. Sometimes I wish this list had an "up-vote" or "Like" function. But consider it given.
That is one of Dorothy's best stories.
Shortly after I finished my VA in History and Political Science,
I went job hunting. I had been working full-time for a B Dalton,
except that in my last semester I switched from part-time school
and full-time work to a 5-course load (15 credits of the US type)
and a part-time work schedule: 24-30 hours a week. When I told my
manager, a recently installed replacement for the fellow who had
hired me, since promoted, that I was again available for full-time
I was told "we don't have the labor budget for that." And the
company had just killed the manager-trainee program.....
I managed to catch on with a local independent as a full-time
special order buyer who was also tasked with handling many back-
office tasks on our point-of-sales/inventory/orders computer system,
which was state of the art for 1986: a minicomputer running C/PM,
menu-driven/non-GUI and networked for up to 8 users! We did
nightly mini-tape backups, and could do EDI (electronic data
interchange) ordering via modem with two of our wholesalers! Just
don't try to run any other reports at the same time, or you'd crash
the whole thing. Later we switched to Windows, more terminals, added
PUBNET and as the 20th century waned, a website with webstore.
The owner delighted in quizzing staff about what they were reading,
as he had as much faith in a bookseller who doesn't read in his spare
time as you might have in a chef who won't eat his own cooking.
I used to drive him nuts when my reports of the fiction I read were
so heavy with sf and fantasy, much of which I had to special order,
because he dedicated so little space in the stores for those categories.
I majored in political science and history, and gobbled up tomes
from those departments, though different ones than he read, he being a
red diaper baby and I an ex-conservative turned libertarian. Eventually
he came to see this as a good thing. He'd send me ARCs and comp copies
of stuff he would never get around to sampling, thinking "maybe this is
the sort of thing Kevin would like..." As a result, I'd sometimes clue
him in to things that might sell well that he was going to skip or not
take a strong position on. If in-person bookselling survives in the
hoped-for "post Covid" world, and you are managing a store, staff it
with folks with disparate taste in reading. I've worked where the staff
all recommended the same stuff - BORING! It's much better to have
a "mystery maven," a "business maven," a "tech/science maven," etc,
especially when staff shared their particular knowledge with each other.
I used to call one co-worker at Mayfair Mall near Milwaukee "Wauwatosa's
Queen of Romance." She was so knowledgeable about that category that
she got special treatment from Harlequin and Silhouette (at the time,
part of Pocket Books/S&S.) She sold a lot of books for them. And
co-workers who knew all about children's books, from picture books for
baby to YA were essential.
I wasn't the only "sf/f guy" at my last store. One of my co-workers
was Midori Snyder. Between the two of us we could find or order anything
the customer might want, even ones he hadn't heard of that he _must_
"You certainly know your trash" - George Deasey,
in Michael Chabon's "Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay."