How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
I work with the New Book Buyers and the Purchasing Team to order new books for our stores.
Last book you loved:
The Man From the Train
by Bill James. He has an incredible mind and a gift for research. He may be best known for transforming the game of baseball, but his true crime writing is phenomenal too! He makes serial murders from 100 years ago feel immediate and nightmarish.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in Medford, Oregon. I’ve made that drive down I-5 more times than I can count.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A wizard. I thought that if I put my fingers into an electrical socket, I would be able to shoot lightning bolts from my fingertips.
What did you do before you came to Powell’s?
I moved to Portland for graduate school, so I guess I was a student. I had been working as a part-time bookseller in Eugene for a few years before that, which makes this my 10th year of bookselling! I got my Master’s degree in Book Publishing and joined Powell’s full time after graduation.
What’s the best part of your job?
I’m an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) addict. We often get early copies of upcoming books, and when I get one from a favorite author I feel like I’ve won a raffle prize. I love sifting through the piles of ARCs to find the gems. I often read them and then pass them on to other booksellers to see what they think. Working with books means working with other book lovers, so a lot of great conversations spring from that common ground.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
A big part of my job is trying to “game” the book distribution system to make sure that we have just enough books at just the right time, but not too many and not too late. I appreciate the challenge of sourcing books, trying to get the best price, and making sure they’re in place for the customer to find them. When I manage to time something just right, I feel like a wizard behind the scenes.
Share a memorable experience you've had on the job.
I consider myself an indoor kid with outdoor aspirations.
Last year, for the summer release of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
, I dressed as Hedwig for the whole day. I had feathers in my hair, a fluffy, feathery cape over my shoulders, and a sparkly white dress. While I was sorting books in the Rose Room, a tiny girl approached me and asked, “Are you a princess, too?” She told me her name was Princess Cora. We talked about owls and princesses until her family was ready to leave.
Share your favorite customer quote.
A Burnside customer once asked if we sold bedsheets and pillows. I said no, that this is a bookstore, and she said, “Well, it looks a lot like IKEA, so I thought I would ask.”
When you’re not reading, what do you like to do in your free time?
I am a serious knitter and host a knitting group at my house every week. I play Dungeons and Dragons and lots of other board games. I’m in two fantasy football leagues with coworkers and friends. I go fishing with my family quite often, though not as much as I would like. I consider myself an indoor kid with outdoor aspirations.
What’s your favorite spot in Portland?
The Pittock Mansion has a very green, very smooth lawn, perfect for picnics and impromptu naps. The view of Mt. Hood is spectacular when it’s clear.
Recommend a book or author you think everyone should read.
I read Samantha Irby
for the first time this year. She’s a hilarious human being, a fantastic writer, and someone that I have been recommending to anyone who enjoys a little tragedy with their humor.
Walk us through your favorite route when browsing books at Powell’s.
I start in the Green room, which is almost sparkly after the recent renovations. I go through the Blue room and up the stairs to the Gold room, where I check out new board games on my way to the Romance section. After a slice of zucchini bread from the coffee shop, I go back out to the mezzanine and either upstairs to crafts in the Pearl room or downstairs to the Rose room, where every book is adorable and necessary to my life.
Do you collect any particular types of books?
I just received as a gift the last volume from the 12-volume collection of Grantland Quarterly
. RIP Grantland
, I miss you every day.
What’s your biggest literary pet peeve?
Romance heroines with purple eyes and waist-length hair. It’s a surprisingly common combination.
Tell us about your first memorable reading experience.
I remember reading the Redwall
series at my grandparents’ house. I hid in the attic and read through dinner, infuriating my mother. To this day, I can’t think about badgers without imagining Salamandastron and the war badgers that live inside.
Do you have any odd reading habits or book rituals?
I’m not sure how odd this is, but I typically read three or four books at a time. I like to have an ebook on my phone, an audiobook for the car, and paper books for any old time. I’ll mix genres and styles so that I don’t get them confused, but I’m rarely monogamous with my reading.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
I’m torn! I can’t have this conversation without mentioning The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss, or Lady Luck
by Kristen Ashley, or Penny Reid’s Beauty and the Mustache
, or the Alanna series
by Tamora Pierce. How could I pick just one? At Powell’s, I have a million books to choose from.