How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
Tireless navigator of the restrooms, the exits, the tills, spirited book recommendation maker, and overall ambassador of where to find the best vegan-friendly nightlife spots in Portland.
Last book you loved:
Mary Wants to Be a Superwoman
by erica lewis.
Where are you originally from?
Little Mountain, South Carolina, a charming town of 300.
What is the best part of your job?
Getting to interact with our passionate customers and my incredibly talented and kind coworkers.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
You know, I love a good off-the-floor Mylar session for my railway books. I’ve also had some incredibly interesting experiences when working events with our publicity team.
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love writing, taking long rambling power walks all over town, and finding the most turbulent kombucha around.
What’s your favorite spot in Portland?
The Lloyd Center! I’m a mall rat, through and through.
What makes for a good book in your eyes?
I love a good off-the-floor Mylar session for my railway books.
Wildness of language, and a palpable heat on a sentence level.
Why do you think bookstores remain so popular in the digital age?
There are checks and balances and a more thorough guarantee of authenticity with a physical book than with something found on a screen. And there’s a real human connection in a book. It’s just a different experience both intellectually, and more importantly, emotionally. Bookstores are thrumming with that connection.
Recommend an author you think everyone should read.
Christine Schutt is an incredible writer. Her sentences cut, her characters are menacingly odd even when doing the most banal things, and there’s an atmosphere she’s created in her books that is so characteristically her style and her style alone. Everyone should read Florida
by Christine Schutt.
Walk us through your favorite route when browsing books at Powell’s.
I start out in the Orange Room, browsing the books on 507E for upcoming events. Then I’m stopping by the Rose Room to visit my favorite posthumous writer crush, Shel Silverstein
, in the kids’ poetry section. After that I head up to magazines along the mezzanine, perusing the latest and greatest lit journals, before winding up in the small press section and likely staying there for a good, long while before heading to LGBTQ fiction in the Red Room and getting lost in Eileen Myles
and Michelle Tea
What’s your biggest literary pet peeve?
When writers over-explain or tire out a point. Have faith in your readers! We are smart and we understand what you’re getting at!
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
Reading Nancy Drew
books for hours and hours in my grandmother’s window seat, treasuring each revelation and feeling a sense of excitement and mystery in my life I’d never before felt.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
In many ways an impossible question, but I’ll say the most influential book I’ve read in some time is Black Tickets
by Jayne Anne Phillips.