Meet Esther Beeke. A 21-year-old bookworm, bookkeeper, book recommender, and book giver. Her parents are authors. Her favorite things are words that make her literally catch her breath, her fiancé, a sky full of beauty, and dill pickles. Esther works in a bookshop, which is why I envied her in a most positive way from the first time I met her, and who accepted my invitation to share her top 5 book picks. Enjoy!
Of making many books there is no end. Ecclesiastes 12:12
I have a feeling that the only people who really comprehend that Bible verse are the ones who work in the bookstores. Books have a way of multiplying, filling up shelves a whole lot more quickly than you think they would. It’s always astounded me how many different words can be printed about a topic, how many ways a thought can be phrased, how many authors have something new to say, how many books come in and go out, how many people are passionate about reading.
Which brings me to why I love my job. After close to 10 years of working at a bookstore, it’s still fun to find the perfect book for a passionate bookworm. Here are my top five books:
1. A book that fits. My favorite customers to help are those who have specifics in mind. They know either what topic they are looking for or who they want the book for. Usually by the time they’re through explaining, I have some insight into what they need and start walking them through the store, offering suggestions as we go. I can always tell when I’ve recommended the right book. They snatch it from my hands as politely as possible, read the back, look through the contents, flip through the pages, and smile. These are the customers who come back because there’s a real connection with someone who can find the perfect book for you.
My favorite book that fits: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
2. A book that inspires. These are the books that customers come in looking for. They had a friend give them a glowing report or they read a review on Amazon or they heard something on the radio. Usually they dig through their pockets or purses, saying ‘oh, where did I put that?’ and eventually they pull out a wadded up piece of paper, title and author scribbled down. They’ll tell me in detail how they heard about the book and that they just have to get their hands on it. Even though they haven’t read it yet, they’re so passionate about it that you would think they had written it themselves. Book euphoria is contagious. When they’re finally done telling their story and you’ve found the book for them, they’re faces light up and they pay happily no matter the cost. Walking out, they’re already paging through.
My favorite book that inspires: Just Do Something by Keven DeYoung
3. A book that attracts. Don’t judge a book by its cover. We’ve all heard the cliché and although it’s true, there is just something about an attractive book. It’s the kind of book that you find when you’re scanning a shelf. Your eyes wander quickly but this book draws your eyes back to it and you have to pick it up. Whether it’s the beautiful cover or unique shape or intriguing title, you can’t help but want to read it cover to cover. Yes, even the smell of a book is important. Used books are even better when it comes to scent because there is such a variety. You just can’t help but enjoy a beautiful, good-smelling page-turner.
My favorite book that attracts: my very own vintage copy of A Heap o’ Livin’ by Edgar Guest
4. A book that keeps telling. The beauty of a book is that the words are there on the page, spelled out in black and white, to be told to anyone who cares enough to read them. Books last long after the author has passed away. Just think of classics like Pilgrim’s Progress and Romeo and Juliet. Spoken word can affect one person, even a crowd of people, but a book can be passed through a thousand different pairs of hands, cultures, viewpoints, languages even. A book can be passed down to our children when we are no longer there to give advice and encouragement. A book can be offered as a gift to 1 and change 100. There’s something magical in that.
My favorite book that keeps telling: The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
5. A book that changes. Best of all are the books that change. Certain books have a way of stopping people in their tracks, forcing them to look around at the life they’re living, even influencing them to turn and go in a better direction. There is a certain authority to the written word, power in the fact that the reader can look over the words as often as he or she wants to. Books are not there and gone. They remain, the words sink in, and lives are changed.
My favorite book that changes: The Holy Bible
Enjoyed Esther’s guest post? Good news for you, there’s more!
Where Esther writes: http://riverbankceiling.wordpress.com/
Where Esther works: http://heritagebooks.org/
Where Esther gives: http://regeneratethrift.com/