How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
Imagine the best job in the world. Now imagine that I have it.
Last two books you loved:
by Vladimir Nabokov and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life
by Samantha Irby are my most recent reads that I loved. You couldn’t find two more different writers who are both brilliantly hilarious in their own fashions.
Where are you originally from?
What is the best part of your job?
Five things: Our customers are superlative, my colleagues are continual sources of joy, and books, books, books.
Share your favorite customer quotes.
First: Yesterday, a woman pushed a stroller into the kids’ area and quietly announced to her son: “This, dear Wesley, is heaven… on earth.”
Second: One evening, an adult customer rushed into the store and breathlessly asked: “Reading? Reading? Reading?”
While “reading” is a great verb for a bookstore, it was still a confounding question, a bit like running into a bike shop and asking, “Pedaling? Pedaling? Pedaling?”
Luckily, the customer’s companion caught up with him and added, “He means, is there an author reading here tonight?”
“Oh! Yes, it began five minutes ago. Just down that aisle and to the right.”
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job.
I don’t move my lips as I read, but my ears do wiggle slightly.
An out-of-state customer was looking for a copy of Alex Haley’s Roots
as a graduation gift. After I located her a signed hardcover, she was visibly moved, and exclaimed: “You made my day, my week… and my year!” So I have that going for me.
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
What do you mean, “not reading”???
What makes for a good book in your eyes?
Part of what makes reading so rewarding is that every book starts off as a mystery. You begin it not knowing exactly where the book is going to lead or what it’s going to teach you. As long as the mystery leads somewhere interesting or educational, I’m in. I don’t need to agree with the book (or even necessarily like it!) for me to think a book is “good.”
Recommend a book or author you think everyone should read.
A Naked Singularity
by Sergio de la Pava is a work of absolute genius. Without sounding bossy, I think The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson should be required reading for every U.S. citizen. Oh, and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾
by Susan Townsend might be the funniest book I’ve ever read.
What are your biggest literary pet peeves?
1. Stories set in Brooklyn that are written by MFA grads who attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
2. Dream descriptions that go on for more than a line or two.
3. Book blurbs that describe a novel as “an important reminder of what it is to be human.” (I already receive minute-by-minute reminders on that topic, thanks.)
4. People who complain at length about their literary pet peeves.
Do you have any odd reading habits or book rituals?
These might qualify:
1. I don’t move my lips as I read, but my ears do wiggle slightly.
2. Anytime I stop reading and close a book, I always check to see how far my bookmark has moved.
3. I read LOTS of books simultaneously, but not at the exact same moment, of course. However, I do like the idea of arranging a dozen open books on a table and standing over them, scanning them, and then turning 12 different pages and doing it again.
4. Any book I read all the way through has some saving grace. Therefore, when I finish a book, I always give it a five-star rating. (After all, there are an infinite number of imaginary stars in the universe — so who am I to be miserly with them?)