Sometimes I wish that I had pursued a career in books instead of the performing arts. After all, I love books. It might be fun to be surrounded by them all the time.
I could have been a librarian. I loved the library as a kid and I can still picture what my childhood library looked like, down to the perennial used book sale in musty basement.
I loved the card catalog, all those little drawers of index cards. The pockets in the back that held the checkout cards were fascinating too. I always used to read them to see who had taken out the book before me.
Oh, and those rubber date stamps that you changed by spinning a little metal gear.
But a lot has changed in the library since those days. The card catalog is on line and there are no more pockets in the back of the books. The rubber stamp is long gone.
Being a librarian now probably requires a lot of programming, story hours and book clubs.
And dealing with the computers. At our local library, the computers are more popular than the bookshelves. The last time I was there I had to wait ten minutes while the poor librarian was trying to help a clueless women get her email.
No, I don’t think being a librarian is for me.
Maybe working in a bookstore would be the way to go. My very first job was in a bookstore and I enjoyed it. I still think of that job whenever I walk into a bookstore and smell all the new books.
I was pretty young when I worked there so I don’t think I really appreciated it.
When I was older I worked at a music store and I loved always being in the “know.” What albums were coming out, what the biggest hits were.
I imagine that it would be like that if I worked in a bookstore. Reading the newest releases, talking with interesting people about authors, novel and biographies.
But I’m sure that for every intelligent customer there would be two idiots, know-it-alls or people who don’t care about books and just came in to read the magazines.
And the stupid questions. “Do you have the fourth book in the Hunger Games trilogy” and “I’m looking for a book. I don’t know the name of it or who wrote it, but it has a blue cover.”
I’ve had enough customer service in my life.
There’s probably a lot of financial pressure working in a bookstore now too, with Amazon and e-books. It can’t be an easy gig.
I’ve always thought that I’d make a pretty good editor. I like the idea of being in on the ground floor of a great book, helping make it better in some way.
And I can merciless when critiquing someone’s writing. I’ve ripped my share of grant applications to shreds because they didn’t meet my expectations.
The idea of working with authors is appealing. I love authors. Of course, I’d have to get over my fear of talking to them, but that would probably go away quickly once I started doing it on a regular basis.
The trouble with being an editor is that I’d worry about hurting the author’s feelings. I don’t mind correcting the hell out of a grant application because the person who wrote it works for me and doesn’t really care. It’s just their job.
Authors are much more heavily invested in their books than an employee is in a grant application.
I’d hate to discourage an author.
I’m sure there are lots of other book jobs out there, ones I’m not even aware exist. But the number one reason I don’t seriously explore a career in books is that I’m afraid it would ruin my love of reading.
Working in the theater and performing arts has lessened my joy in concerts and shows. I know what’s happening behind the scenes, so it’s not as magical as it was before.
I’ve heard people who work in the book industry say that they don’t have time for pleasure reading because they’re always reading for their job.
Or that if they do have time, the last thing they want to do is pick up a book.
That would make me sad.
So I guess in order to keep my love of books alive, I’ll forget about a career change and stick to reading for escape.