How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
I buy used books for the store, help people find their next page-turners, nurture the literature and poetry sections, and stock the small press sections in prose, poetry, and zines (shout-out to all of the local presses doing fantastic things in this city!).
Last book you loved.
I finally read Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red
and was blown away by the imagery… and also everything else about it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A rock star astronaut.
What did you do before you came to Powell’s?
I've been a dishwasher, sandwich slinger, college student, corporate recruiter, speaker salesman, and voice-over engineer.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Finding weird, rare, obscene, hilarious, and downright amazing books among the collections people bring in to sell.
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job.
As a used book buyer, I've occasionally received some awesome gifts from people selling their wares. My favorites include a tiny Japanese plastic theremin, and a copy of David Berman's Actual Air
(one of my favorite poetry books ever). Our community continuously reminds me of the joys of generosity.
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
A good book either makes you think a lot, or not at all, since you're too busy running around inside of it.
I make music with my computer/guitar, write, walk or hike depending on the terrain, chat over drinks with friends, play board games, help out with our union, watch movies, work on my little baby publishing company (big hug), and especially cherish the time I spend doing absolutely nothing.
What’s your favorite spot in Portland?
A sunny spot at the top of Mt. Tabor. Or Dots Cafe on Clinton.
What makes for a good book in your eyes?
A good book either makes you think a lot, or not at all, since you're too busy running around inside of it. A great book does both.
Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
Three reasons: they have bathrooms; that fuzzy feeling of being surrounded by people who like to do this quiet, solitary activity just as much as you do; and because shopping in bed is just kind of sad.
Recommend an author you think everyone should read.
. I'll entice you with this quote: "Am I a monster, or is this what it means to be human?"
Do you collect any particular types of books?
I'm all over the map, though my poetry collection is near and dear to my heart.
What’s your biggest literary pet peeve?
The binding on UK editions. Get it together, Britain!
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
Loving Captain Underpants
so much that I decided to make my own comics just like George and Harold. With Flip-O-Rama!
Do you have any odd reading habits or rituals?
I judge books by the feel of their paper. If a book has great “paper feel,” I am at least 50% more likely to buy it.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
This is every bookseller's least favorite question because it doesn't make any sense. One favorite? Okay, it's probably East of Eden