24.11.06

The Oscar of the Book World

I was at a reputable, small bookseller a couple of days ago looking around for something new to read. A woman in her thirties approached as I had Cloud Atlas in my hand. "Oh, Cloud Atlas, that's supposed to be great. It won the Man Booker Prize - that's like the Oscar of the book world, so you know it's gotta be good." That's when I saw her NAMETAG.

From a regular person I would have chuckled about the remark and that would have been the end of it. But for an employee of a book store to say such a thing is unconscionable. First of all, not only did she erroneously proclaim Cloud Atlas the winner of the Booker, but she compared it to an Oscar and then made the further mistake of correlating prizes with quality. Cloud Atlas was a finalist for the prize (I had the book in my hand and it says so on the cover) but didn't win - and I'm not smearing the book. I love David Mitchell and being a finalist is awesome. And if you're going to compare it to a film award - and I don't recommend it - it should be compared to say, a BAFTA. Let's, please, keep the national distinctions distinguished from one another. Now, I live in Los Angeles, so maybe associating a book with movies is a way to sell books, but I really believe that, if you're prone to these types of ridiculous outbursts, you should not be allowed to work in a book store. That's that. If you can't come up with anything better than The Oscar of the Book World, you should be ashamed - and possibly fired.

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