I spent a lot of unnecessary time searching for a book online today. All because I was stubborn. And I didn’t want to be that person. Not that I have anything against that person. I just feel like, with my knowledge of books and fantastic Google skills, I shouldn’t have to be that person. Which person is that, you ask? I’m sure you know the one. It’s the person that walks into a library or book store and has a conversation that goes something like this with the librarian or store attendant:
Customer: Hi, I’m looking for a book.
Librarian/bookstore person (herein known as book genius): Sure! (thinks internally, of course you’re looking for a book. You’re in a bookstore). What book can I help you find?
Customer: I don’t remember what it’s called.
Book Genius: Okay, do you know the author?
Customer: No, but I think it was a woman. It might have been a man though. It definitely started with a C. Or maybe an L.
Book Genius: Okay, do you remember what it was about?
Customer: No. But I remember it sounded really interesting. Oh! And the cover was blue with a guy on it doing that thing!
Book Genius: Hmmm… Do you remember what genre it was? Fantasy? Romance?
Customer: It was a novel. And I can remember the cover clearly now! It was blue and it had a guy on it, or was it a girl? Anyways there was a person on it and they were standing in front of something I think! It’s a really popular book, I’m sure you know the one!
Book Genius: (inwardly wishing to strangle said customer with the blue, popular book) Do you know if it’s a new book?
Customer: Yes! It’s really recent. They were just talking about in on T.V. the other day.
Book Genius: The other day? Okay, I might know the one.
*Customer and Book Genius walk over to New Releases/Best Sellers and begin looking at books*
Customer: No, it isn’t any of these. It’s blue and it has that guy, doing the thing! It’s really popular. Maybe someone else will know the one I mean?
Book Genius: Do you remember what they were saying about it on T.V.?
Customer: Oh, let me think. I really can’t remember, it was quite a while ago now.
Book Genius: (Inwardly: Awhile ago? I thought she just said it was the other day?) Awhile ago? Okay, maybe it’s this one over here?
*As the Book Genius leads the Customer to another section of the store, desperately wracking their brain to think of all popular books, with blue covers and a guy (or girl) on the front by authors with names (first or last) starting with C or L, the customer lets out an exclamation*
Customer: Oh! There it is that’s the one!
*Book Genius looks in the direction the customer is pointing.*
Book Genius: This one?
Customer: Yes! That is definitely the one! Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone! I just knew the author’s name started with an R. And look, it’s part of a series! I told you the boy was standing in front of a train! I really can’t believe you didn’t know which book I meant!
Book Genius: It is a really fantastic series, one of my favourites actually. I’m glad we were able to find the book you were looking for. (Inwardly: thinking about imitating Doby and beginning to hit head off random hard things in the store. She meant Harry Potter? I can’t believe she was talking about Harry Potter? How was I supposed to get that from what she said? Recent?! The first Harry Potter book came out in 1997! That was 16 years ago!)
*Book Genius smiles at Customer and wishes her happy reading*
So, instead of going to the library/bookstore to talk to someone I spent forever (or close to it, anyways) going through the top 200 releases of each year for the past few years on Goodreads. And that was only after my searches for variations of “books set in London that involve time travel,” “book with a man on the cover with a top hat and a watch,” and “historical fiction, time travel, London, fantasy” came up dry.
After much frustration, I found the book I was looking for. I found it on the 2008 list (though it looks like it was republished in 2011). There’s even a second book in the series now. I have to say, I felt quite the sense of accomplishment when I managed to find it.
“What book was it?” Oh, sorry, I thought I mentioned. It’s called The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (translated into English by Nick Caistor). And the cover looks exactly like I remembered it (I don’t know why memories of covers never include the way the title looked on that cover). I now have it on request from the library. No matter what happens, it will now be in my reading history on my library account.
Oh, the other thing? Once I found it on Goodreads (and finished cheering and congratulating myself), I discovered that my friend has it on her “Want to read” list. I could probably have explained it to her, and maybe the two of us could have figured out the title much quicker. But I didn’t want to send her a message, because she works in a library. And I didn’t want to be that person.
(P.S. Just for the record I love librarians and amazing people who work in bookstores and know all the books.)
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” — Neil Gaiman
(Crossposted to BlogHer)
You Might Also Like: