A Bookselling Moment with Dawn of the Dreadfuls, or a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Emergency Room

Happy Easter everyone. I received my Easter egg a day early. It is sitting on top of my head and is not the chocolate variety. Add to that a nice shiner and I feel quite the proper street ruffian.

I joke about my enthusiasm to sell Jane Austen to the masses at my job at Barnes & Noble, but I never thought it would be extended to such lengths, nor be quite so dangerous. In the midst of a busy pre-holiday Saturday rush, a heavy roll-up window blind and metal fascia board decided to take a “spring break” when summoned to descend from its usual abode above a large window and landed on my head with a big crash. Ouch. My kind and cautious manager Cate called the EMT squad who promptly arrived to assess my war wounds. Off to the emergency room I would go, but not without my purse and more importantly my current book to be reviewed on my blog next week.

A funny thing happened on the way to the emergency room. The EMT guy Dwayne was quite a chatterbox and proceeded to tell me everything he and his family have read or are presently reading and pumped me for new book suggestions!!! Ever the diligent book seller, I figured I was still on the company time clock and should sell books even while laid out on a stretcher on the way to the emergency room. He asked me what I was reading. I hesitated, and then asked him if he knew about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? YES! He was a zombie fan and his wife loved that P&P miniseries with Mr. Darcy jumping into a lake. (I secretly smile. Jane is indeed everywhere. Even in an ambulance!) As my head is pounding I tell him I am reading Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to P&P&Z. He gets all excited and wants the rundown on the zombie books. Oh Lord! I was not quite up to my usual enthusiastic Austen car salesman self and told him I would be happy to offer book suggestions and the scoop on the P&P zombie craze if he wanted to visit me at the store next week. Who’da thought?

We arrive at the hospital and they wheel me into the emergency room. On the way to my room, which took some expert driving through the narrow corridors, we rounded a tight corner and my purse tipped over spilling Dawn of Dreadfuls onto the floor. The nurse picks it up and asks, “Oh! Isn’t this that Austen zombie book?” I nod in amazement. When the doctor finally arrived I was certain that his questions would be: where does it hurt, is your vision blurry and which Austen character do you think is most deserving of being eaten by a zombie?

Never a dull moment in the Austen book selling trenches.

27 thoughts on “A Bookselling Moment with Dawn of the Dreadfuls, or a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Emergency Room

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  1. I know this accident is not funny but I can’t help but be amused with the situation in the hospital! Jane Austen really plays a big part on your life LA!


  2. Oh, Laurel Ann, I truly hope you are alright. And that your shiner isn’t anything as hideous as the one possessed by the dreadful on the cover! (Shudder…)

    You should compile all these book selling anecdotes, LA. It would really make for a diverting read! ;)


    1. Thanks Joanna, I am on the mend, but today my black eye does look like the young lady on the front of the Dawn of the Dreadfuls cover. :-( I am sure I would frighten young children and dogs – so must hide out at home for a few days.

      I have many book selling stories but not quite enough to fill a book. I enjoy sharing them here and my fellow booksellers also feel vindicated.

      Thanks for your concern.



  3. I trust you are largely recovered from your accident as you seem ready to laugh about it. But really, I like to blab at strangers about Austen as much as the next Janeite, but to have a concussion and be confronted with Zombies sounds horrid indeed! I agree with RegencyRomantic; your anecdotes make for delightful reading. A compilation would be lovely.


  4. I really hope you are ok, but what an amusing story this is. You really ARE an excellent bookseller, even when you have been attacked by a window blind. Those zombies would be no challenge for you at all ;-)
    Keep up the good work and don’t get hurt!


  5. Poor Laurel Ann! I hope your head is all healed very soon and that the Easter Bunny brings you some chocolate, which I heard has excellent healing properties.

    By the way, the good people at Barnes and Noble are very fortunate to have such a dedicated bookseller on their staff. What dedication!


  6. Oh my stars!! LA, oh how painful indeed! Please get some rest and don’t return too quickly to the store as you’ll find your bump n shiner will really make it’s presence know today or Monday.

    It was hard not to chuckle though as I pictured the scene unfold. It has the makings to be a movie scene.

    Have a lovely, restful and blessed Easter!


  7. Who could have imagined that selling books was such a hazardous occupation? Make a speedy recovery! As you plainly saw, your bookselling skills are on high demand!


  8. You may have an egg on your noggin, but as long as it isn’t scrambled, you should be fine. Seriously, sorry about the accident, but your reaction to it was perfect. Happy Easter!


  9. What a great story! I do hope your head is okay and that the ambulance ride/Austen book experience were worth the injury.


  10. Oh! Laurel Ann – so sorry to hear of your egg head and dark eyes [you indeed could be model for the cover!] – and nice to know that you behaved in a manner truely worthy of an Austen-obsessed B&N bookseller, continuing to sing her praises while in such a situation of “headake & fatigue” – look forward to your review of “dreadfuls” and hope you are happy today imbibing much chocolate – Take care of yourself Laurel Ann, and beware of any and all falling objects!


  11. Oh, no!! For such an injury, you deserve (at the very least!) a huge basket full of Cadbury caramel-filled chocolate eggs and a few days off to read and do whatever you choose… I hope your head is feeling much better today! Happy Easter :).


  12. Thanks to everone for you well wishes. Sometimes I feel like I live in a SNL comedy skit. What scrape will JA get me into this week or what funny customer will brighten my day?

    Being a satrical sort helps mind you! Reading Jane has done that to me. A life through an Austen prism. Ha! It makes sorrow and tragedy so small in comparison to the humor and delight she can offer.

    I will soon mend, but the memory of this burlesque incident will live with me forever.

    Cheers, LA


  13. I had to check the date and make sure that wasnt an April Fools! Gheesh! I hope you are recovering. That was a very entertaining story– now that I know that all turned out well. Happy Easter!


  14. First off, I’m SO sorry about your “egg” on your noggin. I hope you’re doing better today and not in too much pain. Okay, that story is hilarious though! I love that you ended up talking books to so many people, even though I’m sure you might have wished their attentions on your painful wound. I hope all is well!


  15. Oh, no, Laurel Ann! What an adventure. I am happy that you came out with just a black eye and bruises, and a rousing GOOD story. You’ll never forget this book, I am sure.


  16. What a great story! Well, except for the fact that your head had to physically suffer. I just started reading PPZ: DotD and have chuckled a few times so far. This book is going to remind me of you always.


  17. Am so glad you are OK!! What a great post, talking Jane Austen in the emergency ward. Ah, the power of Jane. :)

    xxx Mel (aka used to be sparsely kate)


  18. Goodness, I just read this post! I hope by now your bump and black eye are a thing of the past and that your dedication to all things Austen will continue to reward you in strange and mysterious ways that do not involve a trip to the ER!


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