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In Which Actual Humans Come to the Rescue

I am old-fashioned. Or, if you prefer, a Luddite. I know how things used to work and it bugs me when they don’t anymore. Not all things. But bookstores, which should be Luddite by their very nature—that whole dead tree thing is so last century now that a person can find just about anything on the Internet or download it to a Kindle or Nook or whatever (which really doesn’t explain the continued sales of blank books, but I suppose there will always be 13-year-old girls who need to write unfortunate poetry in purple ink with little hearts dotting all the i’s.), shouldn’t change. When I go to the bookstore looking for a particular book, I expect to go to the appropriate section and find it by author.

This is too much to ask.

T.R. is reading a fairly dreadful series of books called Guardians of Ga’Hoole. They’re far too easy for him. The stories are so non-engaging to me that I don’t feel the need to read the parts I miss when he reads along without me. I have now missed two entire books in the series this way. On the other hand, I read brain candy, too, so if he likes them, I can live with that.

While T. was recuperating from his root canal, he read the fourth and fifth books of the series, finishing off the ones he already owned. I am a nice mommy sometimes, just to keep the kids surprised when I slide into Meanest Mom in the Entire Universe territory. I went to the library with him last night to try to find the next one, but it wasn’t in. Then I went to the bookstore today and got the next five in the series to give him as a surprise when I pick him up.

The thing is, it took way too long to find the books. I have mostly figured out what books get filed in “Independent Reader” and which rank as “Young Adult,” which is good, since in the particular bookstore I visited, those sections are on different floors, presumably to prevent the sullen teenagers from accidentally browsing the religious books in the next aisle over from the Independent Readers or to keep them away from the upstairs café or something. I went along the aisles to the L section. No Lasky. No next Ga’Hoole book.

In case I had been wrong about where the book might possibly be located in the store (sometimes these things are inscrutable and what I really want is a bookstore that has a section called Books Janet Will Like or even Books Janet Came In Intending to Buy), I checked the computer which said that the book I was looking for should probably be in the store in the section I had already searched. At this point, I was starting to get grumpy.

I tracked down an actual human being who was shelving books, presumably having mastered the psychic skills necessary in learning which sections books belong in and explained my problem. It turns out that series books, which, really, seems like just about everything in the Independent Reader section anymore, are sometimes but not always shelved in alphabetical order by the title of the series. I found them under G.

In part to avoid this problem in the future and in part because one trip to the bookstore is better than five and far less dangerous, I then decided to buy as many as I could of the series at once. There was no eleventh book on the shelf, so I have now batched it with the final two for another future trip when I will already know how to find it.

At which time, they will have moved all the books around again.

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