We’ve heard you. Life has been particularly fraught with anxiety and fear these last few years. Coming out of a terrifying and isolating pandemic accompanied by racial reckoning on par with that of the civil rights movement, only to potentially run smack into World War III is leaving many of us on edge. In times like these, it’s best to just put blinders on and tune out anything that might feel upsetting and uncomfortable. We get it. Starting April 1st, we will use our book expertise to steer our customers only to books that are guaranteed to create feelings of contentment and subject matters that we all can’t help but agree on. Here are some of the difficult decisions we’ve had to make to achieve this goal:
Horror and true crime are the first categories that jumped out at us as being just plain, well, scary. Who wants to read anything that will keep you up at night, give you chills, or make you suspicious of your fellow humans? That sweet looking grandpa on the bus? He may look kind, but he also might be squirreling away bodies in his basement. Who wants to live in a society where the possibility that literally anyone could be a serial killer is the first thing that comes to mind when encountering strangers?
Natural disasters can be very triggering. If you’ve ever rushed down to a basement during a tornado, hefted sandbags to keep back flood waters, or fled from a hurricane, you know the despair that weather can bring. Not reading about disasters won’t make them go away but it also won’t help any.
Snakes, spiders, bears, scorpions, mountain lions, actual lions, cassowaries, sharks, even some dogs can be very violent and death-causing. So, yeah, we won’t be selling books on predatory animals any longer. Giraffes seem pretty mellow, though. Maybe we could interest you in a lovely board book about giraffes instead? Ostriches also might be appropriate.
History can be triumphant but also messy and sad. So, we’re tossing out all of the history books, particularly on war, politics, and social upheaval. Are there lessons to learn? Probably but what’s done is done and looking back won’t change anything. All it does is make us feel icky and often guilty. And who needs that?! Certainly not our children. What good comes out of telling them that our ancestors were not always awesome and even downright brutal, at times? Let’s just agree to keep this to ourselves. They’ll find out the truth soon enough. Or not. We won’t tell them if you don’t. Let’s just look ahead and do better. How we got here doesn’t really matter anyway. It’s where we’re going that counts. We got this!
Another thing our children don’t need is navel gazing. They should just be happy with who they are and not question too many things. Questions only lead to more questions, after all, and then where does it end? Everyone knows that children are extremely fragile, very easily corrupted, and swayed by any opinion no matter how far out there (I mean… Santa Claus). Studies have shown that children should not be allowed to think for themselves or question anything about their identities until they are fully formed – right around 35.5 years of age. Until then, again, books on giraffes are a safe bet. They seem to be pretty secure in their spotted, furry bodies, experience high levels of height positivity, and are more than o.k. with the length of their necks, since they realize that is what allows them to reach the yummiest leaves.
Content is not always the problem in literature, though. Authors themselves are also to blame and are not always the best people living their best lives and making positive contributions to society. So, we’ll be rolling out a program in which we screen those who write the books we carry. We will execute background and credit checks as well as perform a scan of their social media and web presence. In some cases, we may even interview friends and family to be sure that each author we carry has an exemplary reputation.
In addition to doing our due diligence on author profiles, we’ll also be digging into what their motivations were for writing their books. If the stories they tell aren’t reflective of their lived experience, if they are writing outside of the lines of their own upbringing and intimate knowledge of their specific community and identity then suspicions will be sparked. We’ll get to the bottom of just why they thought they had the right to use their imaginations to stray beyond what they have personally experienced. Relatedly, if an author is found to have spun a story they have heard (or even overheard) from someone else, we’ll ask for signed affidavits by the original storyteller in order to ensure that they maintain ownership over their own stories (no matter how much the author attempted to make it their own – even through fantastic embellishment). It really would be so much easier if people would just copywrite every story they recount but, until then, we’ll do the work.
In general, we will no longer be selling any books that in any way lead to sadness, fear, regret, rage, or any negative or uneasy feeling, really. We just can’t get behind literature that is less than uplifting and affirming. It just doesn’t feel good. But don’t worry – we’re here to protect you. You know what does feel good? Trees. We’ll be the first to admit it, they have been known to fall on people, but nothing is perfect, except maybe giraffes but they also eat the leaves off of trees so we’ll be sure and slap warning labels on both types of books so no one will be unprepared. So come see us for a book on trees and maybe one on giraffes. Grab a cup of coffee from our bar while you’re at it. We fresh brew it lukewarm so you don’t burn yourself.