Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the Children's Department Director for Books Inc., a group of independent bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area. In this blog post, she gives us the inside scoop on a term you may not have heard of before, but is super important for all book lovers.
Booksellering: It’s a Verb
See Also: Nerdity
See Also: TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan
Bookseller and bookselling are already words we know and recognize. Bookseller is the person who rings you up at a bookstore. Bookselling is what they’re doing when they take your money and hand you a book.
Booksellering is what anyone who’s crazy obsessed with books does. It’s likely that your local bookseller practices booksellering, but not a given. Or at least, it’s what separates the booksellers making wages from the really, really good booksellers, who make indie bookstores special and important.
Booksellering is what you do when you see a stranger reading a book you love, and you stop them. In public. To talk about feelings. And to make sure that anyone standing near that conversation picks up that book as well, even though they’re giving their friends that sidelong eye contact that confirms that they’re talking with a crazy person, and you can see them doing it, but you’re like WHATEVER I DON’T CARE THAT BOOK IS AMAZING LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE FEELS.
Booksellering is proselytizing for books like it’s a religion, minus the dietary restrictions. It’s not just recommending. It’s standing up in front of as many people as you can find and insisting that you be heard. Because some books are just that good.
Right now, I am booksellering you a book that’s coming out in late August:
TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan.*
I am not recommending you read this book. I am demanding it.
Narrated collectively from the perspective of the previous generation of gay men, TWO BOYS KISSING tells the stories of several different kids, all centering elliptically around two who are trying to break the Guiness Book of World Records record for longest kiss.
Levithan’s minimalist prose matches perfectly with the complex conceit of a first person plural narrator. The high level of imaginative and intuitive empathy that is apparent in all of his works is especially strong here --- as not only are his protagonists fully realized, but so are the voices of the collective narration, whose experiences are as varied as the characters on the page.
Having read so many of his other titles, I could not help but feel like this was the culmination of many of the ideas he’s worked with in other books before --- but here, they are fully manifest, in one slim and elegant novel.
It is the best book I have read this year. And you can bet that I’ve read a lot of books --- and excellent ones at that. If you do not read it, I will cry on you
*If by some mistake you don’t know David, or his work, a quick primer: David is the Editorial Director at Scholastic, responsible for editing such books as THE SCORPIO RACES, and some series called the Hunger Games. But he’s also a fabulous author in his own right, with books like BOY MEETS BOY, EVERY DAY and MARLEY'S GHOST under his belt. He’s also co-written numerous books, including INVISIBILITY with Andrea Cremer and WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with some dude named John Green.