How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
This is my favorite job I’ve ever had. As the Kids Level III, I would describe my job as “creating a more literate future.”
Last book you loved:
by Melissa Broder and I’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up on Long Island, New York. I no longer have a thick LI accent, but I do miss real bagels.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer and a pop star.
What did you do before you came to Powell’s?
I was a bookseller for Barnes & Noble, and before that I edited reports for a company that facilitated independent medical exams (IMEs).
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is making people happy and forging true connections. Not every customer is here to be your best friend, but sometimes, for the moment in time, it just clicks. When I help people find the right book (whether they knew they wanted it before they came in or not!) I am happy to have made someone else happy.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Working for Powell’s has been my dream since I was about 14 years old and read Please Don’t Kill the Freshman
by Zoe Trope. Now I get to live in Oregon and work for Powell’s. It’s a dream come true, every day.
Share your favorite customer quote.
I would describe my job as “creating a more literate future.”
Customers tell me that I am “magic” all the time. I love that.
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job.
I had a really reluctant chapter book reader. His family just couldn’t get him into anything. But when I put Geronimo Stilton
into his hands, something clicked. His grandparents came back a day or so later to thank me! They said he couldn’t put it down.
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
What’s your favorite spot in Portland?
Flutter, a vintage shop on Mississippi Ave. I always bring my guests there. They have the best tchotchkes.
Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
I read on my kindle, I read from the library, I read books borrowed from work, and I read books that I buy from work. I think all types of reading are justifiable. I just want people to read. That being said, a website only tells you so much about a book. People want to hold the book, flip through the contents, and feel like they’ve found a treasure. We offer them that.
Do you collect any particular types of books?
I collect Sylvia Plath
books and books about Marilyn Monroe
What’s your biggest literary pet peeve?
I love uniqueness! So my biggest pet peeve is when publishers try to capitalize on trends. I hate identical covers and titles that are so similar you can barely tell them apart.
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
Reading Harry Potter
for the first time. I couldn’t put it down — Hogwarts became my home and Harry, Ron, and Hermione became my friends when I wasn’t sure I had any.
Do you have any odd reading habits?
I am really particular about reading. I have a Goodreads profile where I kind of dump all of the books that sound like I might want to read them in the future. Then I have a Google doc where I have a list of the books I plan to read for sure and how I need to acquire them (order from the library, buy at work, or they’re sitting in a pile on my living room floor). And I am ruthless about books too — there are too many lovely, amazing, well-written books to keep reading something subpar.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
I love The Great Gatsby
, because every time I read it it’s like reading a different book. It taught me to embrace unlikeable characters.