June 2008

I enter the bookshop, and see my boyfriend's brother-in-law busy ringing someone up. When he's done, I go up to him and ask, "Can you help me?"

He looks at me, "With what?"

"Summer Reading." I answer. Reading's never been my strongsuit. Except for magazines.

"Ah. Need a book?"

"More like an in-depth summary." I sheepisly answer.

"Debbie, I'm not doing your work for you." he sternly says.

"Not all of it."

He sighs. "Debbie, you know why I added this bookshop to the cafe?"

"Because you like books?"

"Well that, and the joy that comes when seeing someone read a book they love."

"You mean nerds?"

"No, people who like reading." He exits the counter and goes to a bookshelf, "They're so many versions of stories and events," he grabs a book from the shelf, "Each one focusing on a different element or social custom of the day." he grabs another book and turns to me, and shows me the books he grabbed, "Take these."

The book in his left, "Love Amongst Pirates", looks like a cheep romance novel you'd find in a grocery store, the kind people read when they either don't have good taste, or they're in desperate need of romance; the cover has a woman with pale skin and dark hair wearing a blue fancy dress barely clinging to her body looking uncomfortable as a man with lightly tanned skin and dark hair comes behind her. The book in his right, "Journey to the Land of Paradise", looks like an adventure book, the kind you could only find in bookstores, like this; the cover is a large ship with various people standing on it, looking out to sea. Two of the people look like the ones from the other cover, but better dressed and looking happy.

"These two books are about a rich girl named Lydia Fries who gets kidnapped by a pirate crew because she holds part of the key to a McGuffin. Both feature a romance Lydia has with the Quartermaster, but both handle them differently. In "Love Amongst Pirates", the romance is the main plot, and to be honest, I only keep it around because of Evie and Sherry." Evie's his wife and Sherry's Evie's little sister. "But in "Journey to the Land of Paradise", it's just a subplot, and the main plot is about trying to get to the McGuffin first, and keeping the keys safe." He smiles as he says, "It's one of my favorites. I remember reading it all the time as a kid whenever I needed to relax and read for fun."

I look at them. They seem the same to me. "So the main plot of one book is the subplot of the other?"

He nodds.

"How can they be basically the same, yet so different?"

He smiles, then puts the books in my hands. "Read and find out."

"Really?"

"Yeah. If you start this evening, you can give me a full summary of the first chapters on Monday."

"But I have plans for this weekend!"

"Then schedule." He sternly says. His brights up and sing-songs, "I'll give you a bonus."

"A bonus?" I ask. He's my boss, and although he's a nice guy, he isn't one for giving out bonuses.

"Yeah. Read the books, and tell me about them when you come in on Monday. Then I'll give you a bonus."

I think about it. I would like the extra money, and I also need a book for Summer Reading... "I'll do it."

He smiles. "Good."

"Yeah." I look at my watch, break over, "Well, I gotta get back to the cafe. Thanks Adam."

"No problem."