I love that ackward moment when I'm standing in the book isle and suddenly realize that the person standing next to me has been staring at me for the last ten minutes straight.
There's an instant bond between myself and this stranger - hey we love books! than an instant sensation of weirdness takes over. Its the question of - why are you staring at me? that fills my mind.
You try to avoid the obviously uncomfortable moment by returning your attention to scanning the shelves for what you're looking for but this person is still looking at you.
I can't focus when a random stranger stares at me so hard you can see the steam rolling out of their ears as they struggle to resist breaking the social politeness bubble people think is necessary to maintain in situations like that so I ask if somethings wrong.
They instantly laugh - as if they were surprised to be caught starting at you or being called out on it. If they had stared any harder their nose would have bled.
But it breaks the ice and they strike up a conversation with me which leads to almost an hour long speech about their life and their reading habits.
I like talking books so I let them go on, being friendly and responding at the appropriate times but not saying too much- because honestly I'm a socially ackward person when I'm face to face with someone I don't know. But it doesn't take me long to figure out why the whole situation began in the first place.
During the tale of their life story I had enough time to notice the chicken scratch on a small shred of paper they held in their hand and look to the tablet i held in mine which brings me to my ah moment. They had been watching me looking through my book inventory I keep on my tablet.
Its not a big leap for me to know what this persons fascination was.
Almost every serious reader knows the signs when they see it. The casual reader, the serious reader, and the reader who can't keep track... and so on.
This was one who couldn't keep track and even with a note in her hand still couldn't remember what she'd ready read, owned, or wanted... which book was new and which wasn't.
Even with the note in her hand she still didn't trust what she'd written down.
After not finding the title she'd written down she was lost in the isles without a clue what to look for next. She said she owned plenty of books. More than she could mentally keep track of but didn't have any idea where she'd left off with them, but she didn't want to leave the store without a book.
There are plenty of people who don't have the time or energy to keep "inventories" of their personal libraries and that's okay. But that's usually when I spot readers who get so frustrated by being lost or forgetful carrying around notebooks with lists written in them, a stack of sheets they printed with titles crossed out wandering isles trying to figure out what the title they crossed out says under all the scribbling.
She asks me about my tablet and how I track it all, I explain the app I use while I'm away from home because I have multiple apps I use to track my books etc that without I'd be completely lost. I explain how I keep up with it and how easy it is to use and explain different ways that she can keep track of her books on her cell phone etc in case she doesn't have one.
I helped her find several titles of a series she'd been missing in her collection after she remembered an author she read.
She called me a genius for thinking of putting my book inventory on a tablet that's easy to search through and keep on hand. I refrained from rolling my eyes since I didn't want to insult her. Ecstatic for the new idea on how to track her books at home she thanked me for being so nice then we parted ways.
I hadn't planned on staying out that long but the whole interaction left me thinking of the different ways readers keep track of their books.
I've had similar conversations before about how different bloggers keep track of their books but it left me curious.(I know, I know, curiosity killed the cat - but I'm still here and I want to know!)
What do you do to keep track of your books when you are away from home?
Do you keep a list on your phone or tablet? Do you know exactly what you're looking for when you go out? Do you keep a note book? How do you keep track of it all? I want to hear your how to's when you're out of the house!