In the Diesel book shop in Brentwood (where I picked up my copy of the Hitchens memoir, along with a book of poetry by WS Merwin, our new poet laureate), a young girl confessed to the woman behind the counter that she didn't read much but would like some book recommendations.
"Tell me something that you've read and loved" said the woman kindly.
"Um" said the girl, a look of panic spreading across her face.
"Um, I can't remember."
"Do you like romance" said the woman smiling.
"Yes" said the girl, brightening up. "Romantic comedies. Light stuff. You know. For the beach."
"I know exactly what you'd like" said the woman.
She led her to the right section, and started to pull out different books. She discussed each one she pulled out.
I like this conversation for two reasons:
One, that the girl was ready to confess that she hadn't read much but wanted to begin and had found her way to this excellent little shop.
Two, that the shop assistant was completely without judgment and incredibly sweet to the girl.
This is the kind of exchange that gives you hope for the human race, and shows, honestly, why we need to support independent book stores.