Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Sanctity of the Staff Rec Shelf

by Sarah Marine

I'm stressing over my staff rec shelf. Fiction or non-fiction? Nothing seems to be selling either way, which I find majorly disappointing. For a bookseller, the rec shelf becomes an obsessive area, the high concentration of beloved titles pulsing with the sacred potential bond between seller and reader. Oy, nobody is buying my books. Perhaps I'm out of touch, I need to broaden the approach and throw on a sure sell. But the impetus for staff rec placement on that narrow wooden altar is an honor of highest elevation reserved for that book that you have chosen to champion above all others. What would the motive of SELL do to the delicate tension of waiting for readerly discovery? I love walking into a bookshop, sidling up to the staff picks and noticing the absent-minded shelving that suddenly crops up in the surrounding area, the booksellers stealing glances in your direction as you lift a book off the labeled shelves and you hear the minutely audible quick intake of breath.

Children at Play: An American History by Howard P. Chudacoff
Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks (USED)
The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Iona and Peter Opie
Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature
by Julia L. Mickenberg, Philip Nel
American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry by Cole Swenson
The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein (used)
Born in Flames: Termite Dreams, Dialectical Fairy Tales and Pop Apocalypses by Howard Hampton


  1. ah yes, i remember it well. best to you all with your recs! :)

  2. you'll get 'em, Marine. You always do.

  3. I had to switch it up anyway- we got BREATH in paperback yesterday.