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Today I initiated the 2009 Christmas Shopping Plan. This consisted in going into the local town to scope out likely gift ideas for friends and relatives while also trying to find gift ideas for myself. (My v. generous mates keep asking me what I want and I keep saying "I don't know!" and it's all rather wearisome).

I never thought I'd be grateful for bad weather, but it definitely helped keep the number of shoppers down and I was able to drift trough Waterstones, Boots, WH Smiths, the Body Shop and numerous other stores without sustaining crush injuries. For this I am truly grateful, for I know that in future weeks, I will require a machete to keep the hordes away.

Anywho, whilst in Smiths I figured I'd try and buy a copy of The Bookseller Magazine so I could find out the latest UK news. Having scoured the 3 miles of magazine racks, I was unable to find a copy, so I stopped a Smiths employee and "enjoyed" the following conversation.

Me: "I was wondering if you stocked The Bookseller Magazine here."

Spoddy Smiths Employee: "Dunno. What's it about?"

Me: [Beat] "Selling books."

Spoddy Smiths Employee: "Oh. Erm. Dunno. Books. That's paper and writing and stuff isn't it? Erm ... I think I've heard of the title. I know we've got magazines about writing. Erm ..."

Me: [Will to live seeping away] "Never mind."

:face palm:

No wonder shops are finding it difficult to attract and retain customers when we have absolutely no conception of customer service in this country.

Editing of Teh Novel continues. I'm still at the stage where it's mainly shaving down the word count and inserting a couple of clarificatory lines, which is good because it makes for fast progress. However, I can see myself going through a real slog in the final third, which is where most of the re-writing is going to have to take place.

In other news, I'm currently reading a book that's been thrown against the wall so many times that it's getting rather battered and the pages are starting to fall out. I'm only sticking with it through to the bitter end because (1) it was free and (2) I've never let a book beat me and I'm not about to start now (even Bleak House, which took me 18 months to get through, still got finished, so take that Charles Dickens!) If anyone is able to recommend a genuinely thrilling, non-cliche ridden thriller that doesn't involve women being beaten up purely to make them victims, I'd be grateful.

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Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ashfae
Nov. 29th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)
In fairness expecting Smiths to carry something not about trashy celebrities is a bit much, in my experience. *wry gryn*
hooton
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Ungh. Tell me about it. There was rack after rack of magazines in the "Men's Interest" section that pretty much consisted of pictures of rack after rack ...

When I was a teenager, my first job was working at WH Smith and even though the manager was a total wanker, there was an expectation that each member of staff (regardless of whether they were Saturday workers or otherwise) should have a good knowledge of the stock out on the shop floor and if you didn't have something out on the shop floor, then you were to always make the offer to order it for a customer.

The spods at the Smiths in Saturday not only didn't have a clue, but they didn't give a shit either. It's really depressing.
ashfae
Nov. 30th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
That sort of thing depresses me too. Even when I worked in the job I hated like hell, I tried to do my best for the customers; it wasn't their fault my job sucked, after all. And some of them repaid me in ways I'd never have expected and still cherish, whether thanks or compliments or once in a while even gifts. Is it *that* hard to do well by the people you're serving?
alchemine
Nov. 29th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Val McDermid writes pretty thrilling thrillers, although I've felt as if I needed a bath after each one I've read.
hooton
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC)
That's a very good idea. It's been a while since I treated myself to a McDermid.
wingsmith
Dec. 1st, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
What's the book?

hooton
Dec. 1st, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Bloodprint by Kitty Sewell. I think it's actually the shittest book I've read all year* - not just cliched and ridiculous, but boring with it.


* And I've ready some pretty shitty books this year.
lizjonesbooks
Dec. 2nd, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)
Nice to meet you!
hooton
Dec. 3rd, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
Nice to meet you too! I found you via SCBWI - figures that the community should be used to meet people.
hecallaghan
Dec. 2nd, 2009 10:54 am (UTC)
You could try "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson which has a really slow start but picks up later, or "Under the Skin" by Michel Faber which I think was probably the creepiest thing I read all year.

I've got to be honest, though, very little of the fiction I've read this year has wholly gripped me, and I can't work out whether I'm spoiled and hard to please or whether it really has been all very "meh".
hooton
Dec. 3rd, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I've heard mixed things about Stieg Larsson. People seem to rave about the first book then go a bit meh-ey on the second and third.

I am keeping an eye out for it in the local library though.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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Caroline Hooton

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