Monday, September 5, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

You learn a little something about what Americans like and what they don't like when you go to something like a "going out of business sale." Like today, when I celebrated Labor Day by taking the family to a mall and making my husband take the kids to "Cars 2" while I went shopping. His was a labor of love; mine was just a little tough on my feet.

Anyhow, there was a Borders there (of course, along with a Yankee Candle, Lululemon, Coldwater Creek, and every other store you see at every other mall), and it was going out of business--as all of them are. Things were down to the bare bones: they were selling the creamer thermoses from the coffee shop, the bookcases, maps of Ohio.

And Palin books. Oh, lord, the Palin books. I hope the Palins are not thinking about using their book royalties to buy a second home. There must have been hundreds of Bristol Palin's book (audio and print), and many, many of Sarah's. It was one of those moments where I thought, "I don't know if I want to write a memoir, because what if it ended up on the 70% off shelf?" I think about these things. They keep me up at night. There was only one Sara Silverman Bed Wetter left, and one Lisa Williams My Life Among the Dead memoir, so they can both feel good about their marketability.

You know what else I learned? All young adult fiction now is about vampires and ghosts. And Hamlet! There was a hefty pile of Falling for Hamlet books in the YA section. I didn't look inside it, but there's a vaguely pornographic picture of a blond Catholic school girl making out with some guy against a brick wall. And there were a lot of Hamlet plays shelved next to it. The fact that it was on the 60% off shelf may mean no actual young adults care about Hamlet, but there must be some adults in the publishing biz who think he can still bring it.

And that Ophelia could be a porn star.

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