Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm All About Anecdotal Evidence and Unscientific Research

If the movers and shakers of marketing and publicity in the publishing world want to know what people are reading at swim meets in New Jersey this summer, I'm their girl. I worked the admissions table (charging an entrance fee and stamping hands) for a good six hours on Saturday. It's remarkable that I could even perform my duties as I had been chased by a bear on the walk to the meet (see yesterday's post), but as I told my brother, it was "for the kids," so I persevered. Sitting at that table for six hours, I saw a lot of swimmers and parents walk in for a long day of sitting around. I couldn't help but peek into their beach bags. Let me just say that about half the women who had books had Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. I don't even know if they plan to read it, I just think American women feel they must own a copy of it. I was happy to see two women come in with Stieg Larson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as it is my book club's book for this month. Unfortunately, when questioned about it, one woman said she hadn't yet begun reading it and the the other just made a little face (a moue, I believe it's called) and said "Eh." A number of men carried in folded newspapers. Three kids had copies of Zilpha Ketley Snyder's 1966 Newberry Medal winning book The Egypt Game. This piqued my curiosity as my daughter recently checked it out of the library. It turns out those three kids are all in the same grade in a nearby elementary school and that book is their assigned summer reading. One kid walked in with The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch and was really excited to discuss it. Many little girls who would be stuck waiting around for their older siblings to swim had fairy books packed along with their beach toys and towels, but my absolute favorite was a girl with a copy of Tomie de Paola's fantastic classic Strega Nona. That's my kind of girl - one who chooses a lovable Italian witch with a magical pasta pot over a glittery Disney fairy.


Becky said...

Ooh, I love peeking at what people are reading too! And I just got the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the other day. Haven't started it yet though.

For some reason I've been resistant to the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing.

Ginny Marie said...

I'm with you! I love Tomie dePaola! And these days it seems like the only food group my girls eat is pasta. At least I make it with love!