Jim Toole, the proprietor of Capitol Hill books in D.C., appears as a curmudgeon in Caroline Cunningham's wonderful profile of him and his overflowing store.
You also have a list of words that no one is allowed to speak in your store.
I hear “Perfect,” I hear “Like, like, like, like,” and I hear “Awesome” every 32 seconds and it was causing me to have brain damage. So I try to ask people when they’re here to use one of the 30,000 words in the thesaurus other than, “Perfect! Awesome! Oh my God!” When you’re sitting here for 20 years and hear that limited amount of vocabulary that people seem to enjoy using, it really [causes] destruction of gray matter.
The list of books that you won’t resell—why those?
I won’t let romance novels pass the door sill.
Why is that?
Because they suck as literature. You like those bodice-rippers? The other thing that’s pretty lousy is business. I take business books, business leadership and management crapola—I take them, but I stuff them in the business closet, out of the way. Only because people ask for them, and usually they’re all obsolete the night that they’re printed. I don’t let computer books in here because they are obsolete the day they’re printed.
Have a good one, Jim!
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