Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wrong Section

I was in Barnes & Noble last night, looking for a recommended novella. After minutes of unsuccessfully browsing the store on my own, I approached the help desk.

"What can I do for you?" the girl behind the counter very politely asked.

"I wanted to see if you guys had a book in stock," I told her, "or find out if maybe I was in the wrong section entirely."

"What's the name of the book?"

"The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis."

She typed it in and began scrolling.

"We should have it," she said, as she moved away and implied that I was to follow her.

"Oh, it's downstairs?" I asked, as I followed her with a confused expression. "I was looking upstairs."

"What section were you in?"

"Sci-Fi & Fantasy," I told her. "What section is it actually in anyway?"

"Christian Inspiration."

"Ah," I said, as she found the book and handed it to me. "That's awkward."

She gave me a funny look and then went back to the help desk.

It was a moment where I wondered who blurred the genres, me or the book store. And then I contemplated how much personal ideas, notions and philosophies affect your general basic interpretation of art and the world.

But it turned out to be an honest mistake, as in the preface of the book though, Lewis writes, "I beg readers to remember that this is a fantasy. It has of course, or I intended it to have, a moral. But the transmortal conditions are solely an imaginative supposal: they are not even a guess or a speculation at what may actually await us. The last thing I wish is to arouse factual curiosity about the details of the after-world."

Twas a good way to start a great dialogue.

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