I am doing the A-Z challenge, focusing on places or entities that can be found within Mendocino County. I do not intend to imply that the subjects of my writing are the most significant, only that they have personal relevance to me. Today’s letter is J for Book Juggler.
Guess and by Golly
The Book Juggler is a used book store right in the center of Willits. I have been stopping in at the Book Juggler for as long as I have lived on the mountain because I am a book worm. Though my interests have become much narrower, I still know that I can go into the Book Juggler, and find all of my favorite authors well-represented.
Interestingly enough, the Juggler has a program going where a person can bring in a box of used books for credit. My mom has been trading her old used books for “new” used books for as long as I can remember. They do not take all books, but if the authors are fairly mainstreamed, and if the books are in reasonably good shape, one need never pay for books-just barter them.
I will confess that in recent years I am more likely to have done my book shopping north, in Eureka, rather than south, in Willits, but that is because I think of browsing through book stores as a leisure activity, one to be savored, rather than as a task, such as shopping for groceries. Annie and I go up to Eureka as often as we can get away, simply because we like to walk around, browsing in thrift stores, antique shops and used book stores. Regardless, when I go to the Juggler, most of the time I can find any number of books by my favorite authors, and hope that I have not already read them.
What I am more likely to look for is an author with whom I am unfamiliar. Then if I like a book by him or her, I have a new wealth of books from which to choose. So it is a “guess and by golly” sort of proposition. I can usually tell pretty much right away, if there is something good to be had. If I really like a book, then I will probably like its brothers and sisters; conversely, hate one book and forget the rest. A couple of rare exceptions include Patricia Cornwell, whose protagonist is a medical examiner named Kay Scarpetta. I read several of her books but eventually gave her up simply because the books were too graphic.
Jonathan and Faye Kellerman are two other authors whose work I have sampled and then bailed out on. I read two or three of each’s works, but eventually decided that it required too much effort. Otherwise, one book is usually enough to sort out the appealing from the non-appealing.
I saw an ad on-line recently, saying that the Book Juggler was looking for a full-time employee, and I thought to myself that I could probably get the books really cheaply then. I dangled that idea around in my little pea-brain for a while, just long enough to decide that if I was going to work forty hours a week, most likely for minimum wage, that I was only going to earn the equivalent of what I could now make in two days. Yes, I agree that I would not have such creaky knees if I was working in a bookstore, as I have today from climbing up and down the scaffolding, but that’s life in the country.
Besides, I can always start to trade in some of the hundreds of books I have accumulated for new used books, thereby saving the cost of purchasing, and I don’t have to work full-time to accomplish this.