Teetering just on the brink of chaos.

It's still 90 degrees outside, and the air is so thick I think I might have asthma, but still: I know it's coming. 

I'm not talking about fall, though -- like Sidney -- I couldn't be more ready for my favorite season.

Instead, I'm referencing what we retailers refer to as the fourth quarter, these last few months of the year that build and build until we reach the pinnacle that is Christmas. Maybe that sounds like autumn to you, but I assure you: The fourth quarter isn't about cardigans and pumpkin lattes. It is about survival.

When FLAUNT launched last week, it set in motion an entire course of events. From now until the calendar flips to 2015, The Bookshelf will be buzzing with activities. Over the coming weeks, we'll host multiple author signings, dozens of story times, a regional authors' fair, our One Book celebration, a sidewalk sale, and a film festival. We're staying open late for First Fridays, and we've got our sights on Victorian Christmas. Somewhere in there, we'll host our third film society meeting, plus a community soup night we're pretty darn excited about. 

This is what we work toward all year long, and it happens to be rather stressful. 

My mom used to say you could predict the state of a woman's life by viewing the contents of her purse. Over my 28 years, I've found that to be a pretty accurate measure, but since we're all book people here, I decided to snap a picture of the current state of my nightstand instead. My nightstand is where the books land, and right now, it looks like I'm trying to build a Tower of Babel out of ARCs and customer recommendations.

The state of my nightstand is, in fact, an accurate representation of life right now: teetering just on the brink of chaos.

So how do I cope?

I put my nose in a good book, try to stay on top of paying the bills, and take things one day at a time.

(I also take a great multivitamin.)

Instead of getting overwhelmed, I'm learning to just start. I take my days at the store in stride, and I read through my staggering pile of books as efficiently and enjoyably as possible.

Our One Book festival we've been tweaking for months? Displays are up, and a Facebook page has been created. It's officially underway. Next week, we'll play host to a bevy of local writers, and before you know it, we'll be opening our doors for Black Friday.

A bookseller's calendar is so different from the rest of the world's. In the midst of this autumnal insanity, I'm meeting with book reps and sales teams distributing springtime goodies. Spring? Can you even fathom it? Last week, I bought Easter candy for the store, and Penguin sent over book recommendations for March. My head is spinning so hard it just might spin off.

I'm finding comfort, then, in that stack of books on my nightstand, burying my head in each one's pages as quickly as I can.

It's fortunate that my coping mechanism also happens to be a big part of my job.

See you in the shop, 


Annie Jones1 Comment