A guy walks into a bookstore… and all the funny stories that follow next

Photo: private library

For years two young ladies have been collecting funny stories from their work as bookstore keepers. They have published these funny stories in anew book entitled, “A Guy Walks into a Bookstore… and All the Funny Stories that Follow Next." Desislava Zheleva has been keen on reading since she was a child. She is a journalism graduate from St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia and her childhood dream was writing. She had worked as a bookstore keeper for 5 years and is currently a publisher. Books are the thing she loves the most and they have become her profession. Savina Nikolova had also worked as a bookstore keeper and currently works in the publishing sphere, too.

“This is a sympathetic book that collects many real-life stories that have happened to us and our colleagues. This was an idea that we have been discussing for a long time. We wanted to give readers not just something to laugh at, but also to show them that bookstore work is much more than what it looks like. It requires very strong social skills because you have to constantly communicate with people. They are looking for books in various ways. Sometimes people who buy books are not readers. That's when funny stories happen,” the authors say.

Recently, the book has been presented at a stand-up comedy show that gathered bookstore keepers from all across the country. The show brought smiles to the faces of everyone and it is just a matter of time for a second book with new funny stories to be published soon. The book’s design is interesting and it also contains humorous drawings illustrating the events described. The illustrations are work of Silvia Ivanova and Monika Pisarova.

“A young girl once came to me and asked me where she could find philosophical literature. I showed the section to her, but I saw her uncomprehending look. I asked if I could help. She said she was looking for Viktor Hugo's books. I asked her if she was talking about the author of Les Misérables. She replied she did not know. What about the author of ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame?,’ I asked again. She said she did not know and added she wanted to buy books by someone whose name starts with ‘U’. I asked her if she was looking for book by Jung. She disappointedly replied: ‘It does not matter,’ and left the store.” Desislava says.

The young ladies told us about entertaining customer questions, such as "Do you have Breakfast at Tiffany's, but by a different author?", or "I am looking for a green book?"... The new little blue book also includes stories in which booksellers are the confused ones, making it even more intriguing. Together Desislava and Savina have a video blog with reviews where they comment on books of their publishing house and books they currently read.

“Readers appreciate sincere opinions and it is very fun to make this vlog. We quickly realized it was very useful to people. We have always been receiving positive feedback," Savina says.

Asked if young Bulgarians were moving away from books and focusing on modern technologies, Desislava and Savina answer:

“There are many young people and children interested in reading books. They know what's new and bring their parents to the bookstore asking them to buy books. There are people who are not interested in reading, but not all should be placed under a common denominator. Speaking about modern technology, it could be both harmful and helpful. They facilitate reading and young people share online about the books they read and what they are interested in. This makes their peers interested in books too.”

The young women wish for inspiration, many faithful readers and large prints.

“We wish readers finding the right books that would fuel their will to move forward. Life is too short to bother with books you do not like. When reading something and you do not like it - leave it. Read books that you find interesting.”

English: Alexander Markov

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