How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
I do a little bit of everything at the Burnside store — shelve books, receive the incoming book deliveries, pull and process online orders, give directions to the restroom, etc.
Last book you loved:
Don’t Call Us Dead
by Danez Smith. Queer people of color are currently producing some of the most urgent, important work out there, especially in the medium of poetry. And in my opinion, Danez Smith is leading the way right now. Their poetry is absolutely wonderful. I can’t recommend this collection highly enough!
Where are you originally from?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
At times a writer, at times a lawyer, at times a Sailor Scout.
What did you do before you came to Powell’s?
I had a few odd jobs beforehand, but I was hired on at Powell’s not too long after moving to Portland.
What is the best part of your job?
I always enjoy introducing people to books I love that they’ve never heard about or never thought about reading.
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job.
The first time we hosted Jimmy Carter
, the autograph line wound its way through the entire store, out the door, and wrapped around the block. Oddly enough, the same thing happened for Bruce Springsteen
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
It was the first time I’d felt like a book...was speaking directly to me and no one else.
I watch a lot of movies, scour local record stores, play board games, and annoy my cat. I’m also active in our union, ILWU Local 5.
What’s your favorite spot in Portland?
The historic Hollywood Theatre — hands down the best movie theater in town!
Recommend a book or author you think everyone should read.
One day, Edmund White will rightfully be welcomed into the literary canon. Until that day, I urge people to give his work a try. The Beautiful Room Is Empty
is my favorite, but I’d also recommend Caracole
or his first memoir, My Lives
Walk us through your favorite route when browsing books at Powell’s.
Into the Blue Room, then the Gold Room, and then back to the Blue Room.
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
In high school, I had a teacher recommend that I read Run Softly, Go Fast
by Barbara Wersba. It was the first time I’d felt like a book or author was speaking directly to me and no one else. No matter how many changes my personal library may go through, I always keep a copy of that book on my shelves.
Do you have any odd reading habits or book rituals?
I’ve read Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
every summer for nearly 20 years. Does that count?
What’s your favorite book of all time?
Even though I’ve read Mrs. Dalloway
20 times, I have to say that Woolf’s novel The Waves
is my favorite book of all time. It’s not a light or easy read by any means, but it’s definitely worth it.